ESPN and Texas as big a deal as appears?

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:32 pm
By: News 9

Originally Published: Jan 21, 2011 4:49 PM CDT

<B>The Texas TV partnership with ESPN is the quintessential example of the rich getting richer.&#160; While the poor don&rsquo;t get poorer because of anything they&rsquo;ve done, they get poorer because of what they can&rsquo;t do.&#160; No one right now in the Big 12 Conference, aside from Oklahoma, can put any type of TV deal together that&rsquo;s in the same ballpark with Texas. Twenty years and $30 mill. </B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>Some thoughts:</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P>*Oklahoma does not qualify as &ldquo;poor&rdquo; by any standards.&#160; But they clearly fall behind Texas in the TV adventure in several critical areas. One, UT has the advantage of a head start and the national attention that goes with it. &#160;Two, OU can&rsquo;t match the PR home run Texas has established by partnering with ESPN till death do them part. And three, OU&rsquo;s financial rewards can&rsquo;t come close to matching those of Texas.&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>Nonetheless, Oklahoma is being its typical proactive self. &#160;Don&rsquo;t think for a second that OUs media savvy athletic director Joe Castiglione got caught with his pants down. It&rsquo;s just that his job is harder than that of his UT counterpart because while he&rsquo;s out knocking on doors of donors, Texas has the luxury of &#160;essentially printing money.</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*OU fans should see this for what it is. &#160;Is some of the uneasiness on the streets and at the water coolers simply pure jealousy? Maybe so, because you can bet that when they get their deal done they&rsquo;ll be loud and proud about the advantage over OSU and others. &#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*If you don&rsquo;t think money plays the critical role in giving an athletic department a fighting chance to succeed, just look at Oklahoma State. The day Boone Pickens decided that before he died he wanted his alma mater to compete for championships was the day OSU really got serious about winning in football.&#160; OSU&rsquo;s a .500 team without Boone. Next year, with Boone in his luxury suite in his own stadium, he&rsquo;ll see them compete for a second straight BCS berth.&#160; &#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*Bevo TV will allow coaches to sit in the living room&rsquo;s of recruits all across the country and tell&#160; them that it doesn&rsquo;t matter if their kid swings, sings, plays the flute or plays right guard; he or she will now be able to be seen worldwide via none other than the World Wide Leader in Sports Television.&#160; That sells. &#160;My guess is kids will like the idea of being told they may have a shot at having their own reality show. A non-stop TV gig is a pretty good sales tool. </B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*Texas and ESPN will be a natural. The past few years, Mack&rsquo;s gotten more airtime than Herbie.&#160; Heck, he earned an ESPN letter jacket a couple of years ago during the OU brouhaha. He was on more than Stoops and Gundy combined in that all-important Bedlam game of &rsquo;08. Barack x 3. </B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*Texas is just being smart. Again. But don&rsquo;t fool yourself, the first smart thing they did was hire Mack Brown. Check the facts. </B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*The new partnership is not about journalism. Mack&rsquo;s never actually gotten 60 Minute Mike Wallace-type grilling from ESPN or the otherspartly because of his consistent congeniality toward the media. The new gig is a co-op not intended to inquire about wayward halfbacks, but to promote graduation rates and wins on the field. &#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*Texas President Powers pontificated in a piece I saw yesterday about exposing The University of Texas in athletics, but also in its humanities, the arts, etc. Yea, right. Political Speak. Take away Bevo and go sell your humanities to NPR. You won&rsquo;t get money. They&rsquo;ll charge you to promote that kind of stuff. </B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*But what does all this mean to you?&#160; Not much, as long as Stoops maintains his advantage over Mack, which looks to be the case the next couple of years. While OU returns most of its players, Texas returns its QB, a liability in their dreadful 2010 campaign. That position appears to be a big question mark moving forward as OU&rsquo;s is just the opposite. Reverend Jones is back and his disciples around him are believers that the future is now. And it probably will be. &#160;&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>*Having said all this is critical that OU has been putting together a TV effort that will be second to none. Make that second to one. And it will be in the near future. &#160;They may lag behind the Longhorns, but Castiglione has OU primed to be ahead of most of the remaining 118 FBS schools.&#160; Castiglione has a darn good outfit in place now. And he&rsquo;s given them high-dollar equipment to work with spending multi-millions on high-tech gizmos like 3-D cameras that needed in today&rsquo;s competitive climate. </B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>I asked the Castiglione if OU&rsquo;s TV arrangement would B consummated by the end of the year, as has been reported.&#160; His e-mailed response: &#160;&ldquo; I&rsquo;ve always said our goal was to announce a network within a 12-18 month time frame.&#160; The new network launch would come soon after that.&#160; We&rsquo;re still pursing that time frame. Note: Some people forget we already have oneit&rsquo;s called the Sooner Sports Network. I think many are thinking of a totally dedicated 24/7 channel.&#160; Of course, that is in the range of options we are evaluating.&rdquo;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>There are multitudes of questions that will come out of all this, including one brought up by Rudy Jones in the Dallas Sports Examiner:&#160; &ldquo;Texas will walk almost $248 million to the bank in this new deal with ESPN. Isn&rsquo;t something wrong with this picture? How much money is too much money to make off the backs of amateur athletes?&rdquo;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>But for now, it should be fun. Are we looking at a new version of the Red River Rivalry? Texas Hold &lsquo;Em? Shootout at the OK Corral? Star Wars? &#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>Lights, camera, action!&#160; </B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P><B>========================</B></P>&#160;</P>&#160;</P>&#160;</P>* Is it a coincidence that Texas announces its history-making TV deal a couple of weeks before signing day? If it were me, I would do just what they&rsquo;ve done. Think a recruit will de-commit when you hear your every move will be on TV while the competition is lucky to be carried on radio? Mack apparently didn&rsquo;t have any verbals waiver after a staff makeover, but this announcement is stronger than a garlic milkshake. </P>&#160;</P>*Also not coincidental. Rich in heritage and rich in money. &#160;Supporting stat: OU or Texas played for the national championship in five of seven years from the 2003-2009 seasons.</P>&#160;</P>*Finally, have you ever had a mouthy someone in your line of work who took joy in consistently sending veiled shots your way? Someone who makes you consistently bite your lip and &#160;put down your dukes? If so, you might get a kick out of something I was sent: &ldquo;If I ever agreed with you, I&rsquo;d be wrong.&rdquo; &#160;</P>&#160;</B></P><B>&#160;</B></P>&#160;</P>&#160;</B></P>&#160;</B></P></B>&#160;</P>&#160;</P><BR/>