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Big 12 Conference

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No. 1 Oklahoma works toward own TV network

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— While rival Texas has been rolling out its Longhorn Network, top-ranked Oklahoma has been working to expand its television capabilities, too.

Reporters were given a tour Tuesday of the university’s SoonerVision HD production rooms that have been expanded through $5 million in improvements in recent years. With fiber-optic cables connecting the school’s athletic venues to side-by-side control rooms, Oklahoma plans to broadcast and webcast dozens more sporting events this year in high definition.

“It allows us to do broadcast quality. That’s the thing I don’t think a lot of people realize is that five years ago our webcasts were one camera at a game, at a volleyball match, and we’re still doing some of that,” said Brandon Meier, the executive director of video production.

“Now more of our webcasts are going to look like broadcasts that you’re going to see at home with all of the bells and whistles and the replays and the score bug. We’ve gone from the one-camera setup to the 32-person broadcast setup to make that happen.”

The expansion is another step toward the school’s ultimate goal of launching its own around-the-clock network in a quickly expanding television marketplace for college sports.

The Big Ten’s lucrative network is being joined by a series of Pac-12 channels and the Longhorn Network, created through a $300 million deal between Texas and ESPN.

As compared to those endeavors, Oklahoma has a part-time network. It produces and broadcasts dozens of live basketball games and events from Olympic sports on television, and offers other live sporting events through an online All-Access package that charges subscribers about $10 a month or $100 a year.

Spokesman Kenny Mossman said eventually the university hopes to “dovetail” its online offerings into its own TV channel.

Kansas State became the latest Big 12 school to launch a similar package Tuesday with the creation of its K-StateHD.TV online channel.

“I think every school is investigating an Internet distribution system,” Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said in a recent interview. “With the emergence and evolution of Internet television now, it probably behooves us all to get very serious about an Internet network.”

There’s still another big step from webcast of live events and on-demand content to the Longhorn Network’s offerings.

“I think there’s a lot of programming that would have to be done to support a 24-hour channel, and it’s been nice for us to kind of grow in steps. So, this year we’ll focus on producing really quality TV broadcasts,” Meier said.

“If next year whatever happens or years in the future, if there does happen to be a channel or a media partner, we have the ability to do the same thing — push them good content, whether it be in the studio shows or live games.”

Meier said Oklahoma’s facilities are up to date with advanced equipment.

“If we were to someday launch a network like the Longhorn Network, there would still need to be a network hub,” Meier said. “This is really just for production of games and that sort of things. There is nothing that’s a master control for a TV station.

While they aren’t bringing in $15 million per year like the Longhorn Network contract, the upgraded production facilities are a money maker for the Sooners.

Just one example is that instead of paying an outside firm more than $100,000 to create a video for pregame football introductions, Oklahoma can now do it on its own.

Comments

Janet Scott 3 years ago

The new KSU HD TV network will run reruns 24/7 of Julia Child making manure pies in her kitchen, with all things "Wildcat" around her, including her old man, who sits in the corner like a frick'n corpse uttering the Manure U. fight song, while moaning and begging for a 100 capsule bottle of Viagra, as he eyes Julia from afar.

And the new OU TV network? Similar in excitement to KSU's Manure U. Network, but with a 24/7 1948 black-and-white cowboy film, showing a single old minature prairie schooner, pulled by a Shetland pony, going in a circle for an eternity, while Bob Stoops and Lon Kruger do a bad falseto imitation of western legends Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, softly singing "Happy Trails to You", that plays repetatively, without stop.

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rob4lb 3 years ago

It is going to be hard for any of the other schools to make money on it's network given the cost, the lack of meaningful programming and the small market. KU has an online channel which I have subscribed to for years. I am able to get the live local radio feed. I doubt the athletic department makes that much money for the subscribers.

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willie_fu_fu 3 years ago

Outside of channel 6 replays in Lawrence does KU have anything where the school broadcasts games on TV?

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Steven Mathew 3 years ago

I thought there was the jayhawk network for the nonconference basketball games.

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Carter Patterson 3 years ago

I would easily fork out $100 - $200/year for a KU Internet television site. Our J school should be leading the charge to create this to attract students. It does not have to be a money maker anymore than English class has to be a money maker.

I'm somewhat surprised that we have not made any announcements about our own network.

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NH_JHawk 3 years ago

I agree. For Alumni who are out of state this would definitely serve a great purpose. ESPN Fullcourt allows people like me to watch most of the BB games that aren't nationally televised (full court definitely not HD though). However, I'm lucky if I catch 2 KU Football games the entire season. Heck, I would probably even watch some KU baseball games if they launched a network. Internet TV (like K-States) in HD would solve that problem. KUAD - are you paying attention?

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Ryan Gerstner 3 years ago

You're not trying very hard then. KU's had every football game televised the past 4 years except for 2 games last year. Most of them available nationally except for the regional ABC games.

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boomrsoonr26 3 years ago

I beg to differ....maybe in Lawrence, but not here in Wichita

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juke4jay 3 years ago

Nor are KU football games available down in Texas. Alumni out of state are basically blind to KU football (beyond the web text reports). B-ball has reasonable internet coverage, and the occasional EPSN feed for some contests.

The school is missing the boat on this digitial network strategy - lets hear the plans (hopefully they are in the works?).

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ccarp 3 years ago

Please allow me to get greater coverage of my hawks while living out of state without having to pay the East-coast SPorts Network. I'd rather cut a check to KU.

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Carter Patterson 3 years ago

With all due respect, it takes an act of congress to get this to pull up. The distribution of CBS College Sports, billing, etc. has a lot to be desired. I think ESPN3.com is vastly superior.

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Mike Kendall 3 years ago

As one tire said to the other tire----"Please, spare me!"

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Robert Brock 3 years ago

The Big XII disgusts me: why didn't the conference come up with a Big 12 Network a la the Big 10's? Texas or no Texas...

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johnnyhrdwd 3 years ago

KU should be next, KU basketball is more marketable than most football games.

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ChicagoJHawk 3 years ago

Where do all you out of towners live?? There are KU bars in almost every major (and a lot of non-major cities) city in the US.

Go to the alumni website and take a look at all the watch sites, and that's not even all of them. Granted not all cities are like Chicago, which is the biggest alumni population outside of Kansas, and have like 3-4 KU bars but there are plenty of places to catch the games. I have, when I've been traveling. Us KU fans are everywhere!!!

Other than that, if the game is not on tv there's always somewhere you can find the game online, either on ESPN3.com or somehwere else.

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Robert Brock 3 years ago

The Hawks aren't on TV Saturday. They aren't on ESPN3 either.

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gardenjay 3 years ago

I haven't been able to get good reception here in Tajikistan.

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Kenneth Hillman 3 years ago

Yes, most importantly is there a place that out-of-towners can watch this Satruday's game online? I know it's not on TV anywhere.

Agreed with the posts above, I would happily shell out $100/year for a KU online network. It would give me access to non-televised games (regionally or other) and that money would be going to the school and to educate KU students on how to broadcast. GET ON IT KU!

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jayhawkox 3 years ago

Glad to see some schools moving on this, as this is a pretty special feature of the Big 12's TV package. Evidently one that A&M is either too dumb or too lazy to figure out.

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Kenneth Hillman 3 years ago

What is the special feature of the Big 12 TV package? Not sure I gleaned that from the article.

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