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Texas, ESPN sign 20-year pact

Longhorns sports will be featured

AUSTIN, Texas – The University of Texas, which already has one of the wealthiest athletic programs in the country, is lining up for even more money.

Texas and ESPN announced a 20-year, $300 million deal Wednesday for a 24-hour television network that will broadcast Longhorns sports, including at least one football game and eight basketball games per season, and other sports and academic content.

“We want to define what it means to be ‘the’ public university,” Texas President William Powers said. “The challenge is to create new sources of revenue to support our mission.”

The deal includes Texas’ licensing and marketing partner IMG College, with more than 80 percent of revenue set to go to the university.

It will not replace existing television deals between the Big 12 and both ESPN-ABC and Fox.

ESPN will handle distribution of the still unnamed network via cable or satellite in Texas and other states, and already has had preliminary conversations with Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp.

The network is scheduled to launch in September and will broadcast at least 200 Texas sporting events per year. Football will include at least one live broadcast and multiple replays from other networks, the annual spring football scrimmage and pregame and postgame coverage.

“We’re going to cover (Texas) football like it’s never been covered before,” said Burke Magnus, senior vice president of college sports programming for ESPN, the sports media giant based in Bristol, Conn.

Basketball will include a minimum of eight live games and replays of games broadcast on other networks. Women’s basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer and other sports, coaches shows, biographies and highlights also would be broadcast.