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OU's outlook is sunny, thanks to progress toward TV network

One industry leader thinks OU could brand itself as a regional power with viewers from Kansas City to the Metroplex.
BY JAKE TROTTER Modified: February 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm •  Published: February 6, 2011

The true advantage of having a personal network, however, isn't near-term economics, Maestas says. The true advantage lies in the branding, recruiting, exposure and expansion of the Sooner footprint beyond state lines that will make OU all the more attractive to other conferences when the inevitable wave of conference realignment strikes again.

“The personal network is more about branding, recruiting, exposure than the revenue,” Maestas said. “Oklahoma seems to understand this.”

An OU network inside Oklahoma would have its payoff. But Oklahoma has limited TV sets. And the Sooners have the state's eyeballs on them already. Which is why maximizing the channel's full potential hinges on whether OU can somehow get the channel up and running on cable packages outside the state.

“The key is expanding the geographic influence,” Maestas said. “If they're smart, they'll charge small amounts of money to have it on the basic tier in other states.”

Remember how WGN led to the proliferation of Cubs fans around the country? Imagine an OU network achieving similar results on a smaller scale from Kansas City down to the Metroplex.

“In five years, you could see Oklahoma become more of a regional school,” Maestas said. “Get decent ratings from Kansas City to Dallas. ... show you have a proven viewing subscriber base. ... you'd be bringing a whole lot to the table to other conferences.”