ESPN's “College GameDay” crew will be on the University of Texas campus when the Longhorn Network launches at 5 p.m. Friday to a slim viewing audience.
The network landed its first national carrier on Thursday when Verizon announced it will carry the ESPN-backed network for its FiOS TV subscribers. The Verizon distribution deal puts the network within reach of about 4 million viewers nationally, but only a small portion of those are in Texas.
Texas and ESPN have yet to announce any major cable or satellite carriers. The school is receiving $300 million in the 20-year deal.
For the launch, Longhorn Network's on-air team of anchor Lowell Galindo, reporter Samantha Steele and analyst Kevin Dunn will debut alongside ESPN's “College GameDay” team of Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and Erin Andrews. The two-hour show will preview the Longhorns' football season and its home opener against Rice, which will air 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, on Longhorn Network.
The first event at 7 p.m. will be a women's volleyball match between No. 4 Texas and Pepperdine. At 9 p.m., the documentary-style “Texas All-Access” show will debut, providing unprecedented access to the Texas football team.
* ESPN's “Baseball Tonight” roadshow, 6 p.m. Sunday, will make its first appearance in Arlington, Texas, before the Angels-Rangers telecast. Host Steve Berthiaume will be joined by analysts John Kruk, Barry Larkin and Valentine on the set outside the ballpark.
* Cox 3 has picked up the Bedlam women's soccer match from Stillwater at 7 p.m. Friday and the Tulsa Shock at Los Angeles Sparks WNBA game at 9:30 p.m.
* For the fourth consecutive year, ESPN will celebrate the opening of the college basketball season with a marathon of telecasts. Beginning at 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, it will include 19 live matchups – 17 men's and two women's – in 25 hours. The Tuesday, Nov. 15, schedule is by highlighted by the inaugural State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader from Madison Square Garden with Duke vs. Michigan State at 6 p.m. and Kentucky vs. Kansas at 8 p.m. Other televised Big 12 games include San Diego State at Baylor at 1 p.m., Rhode Island at Texas at 3 p.m. and Louisville at Texas A&M in a women's at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.
* ESPN's “Outside the Lines,” 8 a.m. Sunday, looks at former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan's involvement in an alleged ponzie scheme and increasing the heighth of stadium railing in the wake of a fan death July 7 at Rangers Ballpark.
* Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are returning as CBS' top NFL broadcast team. The network's other NFL teams are: Greg Gumbel-Dan Dierdorf, Ian Eagle-Dan Fouts, Marv Albert-Rich Gannon, Kevin Harlan-Solomon Wilcots, Bill Macatee-Steve Tasker, Spero Dedes-Steve Beuerlein and Don Criqui-Randy Cross.
* Vince Cellini is returning to Turner Sports as a full-time host for NBA TV and serve in a similar capacity for a collection of online programs across Turner Sports' digital properties, including a new college football preview show on NCAA.com.