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Longhorn Network: Many will buy, few will watch

by Berry Tramel Published: July 3, 2011

Remember the Seinfeld episode where George and Jerry were developing a TV show about nothing? Why would anyone watch, asked an NBC executive.

“Because it's on television,” George said.

Sometimes I think George Costanza is behind the marriage of ESPN and the University of Texas.

The Longhorn Network, which debuts Aug. 26, is not necessarily about nothing. But it is about nothing much.

One football game a year, the least attractive matchup on the schedule. A few basketball games, again, against the rumdums. Then all the minor sports you can stuff into a candy bag.

Oh, the network will help Texas recruiting, in sports other than football. All of UT's gridiron games are televised anyway. But a third baseman from Amarillo or a sprinter from Copperas Cove? That's a selling point, that most of your competition can be seen on Bevo TV.

And it pads Texas' pocketbook, but since when did the Longhorns hurt for money? They've always had more money than everybody else. Always had a lot more.

So I really haven't seen what the big deal is, about the excitement on Texas' side or the resentment on its opponents' side.

The shows that have been announced for the Longhorn Network aren't exactly must-see TV. Longhorn Extra, a daily look at news from UT's varsity teams. Rewind with Mack Brown, a look back at the Longhorns' previous game. Game Plan with Mack Brown, a look ahead to the next UT tilt. Texas All Access, inside look at Longhorn teams, focused primarily on football. And Texas GameDay, a two-hour pregame show for football

Unless the 'Horns have signed Chuck Barkley and Kenny Smith, I think you're safe to pass.

Playback shows are worthless in this day of all games on television. Coaches shows have been dead for two decades, lost to the quicksand of paranoid and personality-challenged coaches, though Mack actually has more charm than most.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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