NORMAN — Rather than establish its own 24/7 television presence — a la the controversial Longhorn Network — the University of Oklahoma will show its athletic programming through already existing outlets.
OU and FOX Sports announced Wednesday the creation of “Sooner Sports TV,” blocks of OU sports programming totalling at least 1,000 hours annually across various FOX Sports outlets, including Fox Sports Oklahoma/Fox Sports Southwest, Fox College Sports and Fox Sports Plus.
The 10-year deal means the programming — coaches' shows, game replays, press conferences and more — is immediately available to 9 million homes in the Oklahoma-Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana region. Select programming from Sooner Sports TV will be made available nationally, on Fox College Sports through cable providers or via satellite on outer market regional sports packages.
The initiative launched Sept. 1, before OU's first football game of the 2012 season at UTEP. The partnership will also include an online, “all-access” component featuring more, untelevised content, such as live streaming and archived games.
“We examined the amount of programming that we would have available to us, so getting at least 1,000 hours of programming in a multi-platform network was really exciting for us,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione.
“This is at least 10 times the amount of programming OU has been able to offer previously to our fans.”
Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
“We know it's enough to make Sooner Sports TV sustainable for the forseeable future,” Castiglione said. “It allows us to invest in the type of equipment and production necessary to produce over 1,000 hours of specific OU programming.”
The 13-month old Longhorn Network, which is owned and operated by ESPN, has had major distribution problems; it recently announced a deal with cable provider AT&T U-Verse, but still isn't shown on other, larger cable and satellite entities.
“We did have a chance to examine several different options, including stand alone, 24/7 type of channel,” Castiglione said. “But this really gives us the best of all possible worlds. We have substantial OU branding and programming, along with immediate and full distribution throughout Oklahoma, Texas and our region.