OU football: Sooner channel problematic
A year after being granted the opportunity to pursue its own 24-hour channel, OU’s athletic department still is investigating its options. Sooner athletic director Joe Castiglione talked about the situation on Monday. You can read his comments here.
The problem is obvious. Your own channel requires enormous start-up costs, which is why ESPN’s partnership with the University of Texas was valuable. ESPN stripped UT of any potential risk. ESPN is paying the Longhorns $15 million a year and helping with the costs of establishing the network.
OU and Texas and most universities have production facilities in place, but more equipment and more manpower are a must to maintain a round-the-clock operation. ESPN’s commitment to Texas provided the Longhorns with the cushion to proceed without caution. OU does not have the liberty.
Start up a channel that has no financial security, and the costs could be enormous. That’s why OU has been slow to proceed. The Sooners can’t afford to spend millions of dollars without knowing the thing will be either 1) financially viable, or 2) at least not a money pit.
These channels are very beneficial, as we’ve well-documented with Texas, and they can be great tools for the university as a whole. The thing doesn’t have to make money to make sense. But it can’t lose tons of money. Until the Sooners can be sure of the latter, the network will have to wait.
UPDATE: Here’s the video.
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