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Texas Longhorns To Hook Up With ESPN?

Multiple sources are reporting that ESPN is close to a relationship with the University of Texas to distribute the Longhorns' sports network over cable providers.

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Orangebloods.com, which was on top of conference realignment news over the summer, reports that the agreement is in place and that it will net the school an additional $12 million per year. The deal could begin as soon as late 2011. The deal could put Texas into rarefied TV contract air.

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The new agreement between Texas and ESPN for the Longhorn Network includes a $10 million payment up front, sources said. It also would make Texas the top TV revenue-producing school in the country, earning close to $30 million next year in TV revenue and more than $32 million beginning in 2012-13, sources said.

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Schools in the SEC currently earn $17 million per year in TV revenue under 15-year contracts with ABC/ESPN and CBS that began in the fall of 2009. Big Ten schools currently earn roughly $20 million per year from the Big Ten Network in a 20-year contract with operating partner Fox that began in August 2007.

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Texas already offers "Longhorn On Demand" on cable networks. The service offers previously recorded events and shows, whereas this Longhorns network would presumably be more robust, showing lots of live games across several sports.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.