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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

In an unexpected move Friday, Time Warner Cable added the Longhorn Network to its lineup of channels broadcasted in Texas. 

The decision, announced the day before the Longhorn Network aired UT’s first football game of the season, makes the channel available to Time Warner Cable customers in Texas who subscribe to the cable provider’s standard or premium packages. Since the channel is broadcasted digitally, customers will need a digital cable box to view it. 

Previously, the channel was only carried in Austin on AT&T U-verse and Grande Communications. As part of a deal with the University, Grande provides the Longhorn Network to 7,300 students living on campus, as well as on TV screens at Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium.

Noting the large number of Time Warner Cable subscribers in Central Texas, Jon Gary Herrera, Time Warner Cable’s vice president and spokesman, said the cable provider wanted to begin offering the network before UT’s football team kicked off its season against New Mexico State on Saturday.

“We see [the network] as a tremendous addition to our lineup,” Herrera said. “We’re excited to have been able to add it before the first game.”

Herrera said the cable provider may offer the channel to customers outside of the state in the near future.

In late August, Justin Connolly, ESPN vice president of programming for college networks, said Comcast and Time Warner Cable would not be adding the channel in the near future.

Owned and operated by ESPN, the Longhorn Network was formed in 2011 in partnership with the University. UT receives $10 million in profits from the Network each year, which is shared evenly between academics and athletics.

UT spokesman Gary Susswein noted the hard work that went into the agreement with Time Warner Cable.

“This is great news for Longhorn fans. It is a product of a lot of hard work by people at UT and ESPN who have tried to make the Longhorn Network accessible to fans from day one,” Susswein said. “Longhorn Network has been doing a great job since it started, really covering UT and exploring our successes in the classroom and on the field to a larger audience.”

Before Friday, one of the only places for Time Warner Cable customers to watch the Longhorn Network was at bars and restaurants. Despite the possibility of losing customers on game days, J.V. Cook, Posse East restaurant manager, said he was happy more UT sports fans would be available to watch the channel in their own homes.

“It will affect our business a little, but as far as Longhorn fans go, I think it’s great,” Cook said.

The Longhorn Network is scheduled to air two more UT football games this season: the Ole Miss game on Sept. 14 and the Kansas game on Nov. 2. The channel also covers 19 other UT sports and 175 events in total. Besides sports events, programming includes studio shows, historical pieces and original series.

Time Warner Cable agreed to add Longhorn Network to its channel lineup the day before the start of UT’s football season.

The channel, which offers coverage of UT sports and academics, will now be available to Time Warner Cable subscribers in Texas who are signed up for its “expanded basic cable service,”  according to a statement from ESPN.

Owned and operated by ESPN, Longhorn Network was formed in 2011 in a partnership with the University. Previously, the channel had only been carried in Austin on AT&T U-verse and Grande Communications.

Along with Saturday’s football game against New Mexico State, Longhorn Network is also scheduled to broadcast two other UT football games this season: the Ole Miss game on Sept. 14 and the Kansas game on Nov. 2.

For Time Warner Cable customers in Austin, Longhorn Network will be available on channel 444 and in high definition on channel 1593.

Time Warner adds Longhorn Network

Time Warner Cable has agreed to add Longhorn Network to its channel lineup the day before the start of UT’s football season.

The channel, which offers coverage of UT sports and academics, will now be available to Time Warner Cable subscribers in Texas who are signed up for its “expanded basic cable service,”  according to a statement from ESPN.

Owned and operated by ESPN, Longhorn Network was formed in 2011 in a partnership with the University. Previously, the channel had only been carried in Austin on AT&T U-verse and Grande Communications.

Along with Saturday’s football game against New Mexico State, Longhorn Network is also scheduled to broadcast two other UT football games this season: the Ole Miss game on Sept. 14 and the Kansas game on Nov. 2.

For Time Warner Cable customers in Austin, LHN will be available on channel 444 and in high definition on channel 1593.

The Longhorn Network will now be available to Time Warner Cable video subscribers in Texas, according to ESPN and Time Warner.

Time Warner Cable becomes the 14th provider to launch the network; AT&T U-Verse was the most recent addition before Time Warner. Subscribers of the company will be able to receive the Longhorn Network on their expanded basic cable service.

 The announcement came on Friday, the eve of Texas’ first football game of the season against New Mexico State, which will be shown on the network.

 The Longhorn Network is a cable television channel dedicated to University of Texas athletes. The ESPN owned and operated service is in its third year of a 20-year agreement with the UT.

"We're really excited to have reached an agreement that brings Longhorn Network's programming to Time Warner Cable," said Andrew Rosenberg, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisition for Time Warner Cable. "We know we count a lot of UT fans among our customers, and we've worked hard with our colleagues at ESPN to finalize an agreement in time to bring them tomorrow's game."

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

As the Longhorn Network enters its third football season, it has made its way into 5.5 million living rooms and dorms but is still not easily accessible to most students living off campus.

Students can watch the exclusive games available on the Longhorn Network on campus or at nearby restaurants, but prominent cable service providers in the area — including Time Warner Cable — have yet to pick up the programming since its launch in 2011. Longhorn Network officials say they do not anticipate expanding programming to large service providers in the near future.

Grande Communications, which is carried in dorms and dining facilities on campus, was the first cable provider to make the Longhorn Network available to viewers. Hemlata Jhaveri, the Division of Housing and Food Services director of resident life, said the Longhorn Network is available to the 7,300 students living on campus. 

At least one television is dedicated to the game in the dining halls on game days, Jhaveri said.

Austin-area bars and restaurants also provide the Longhorn Network to customers. At least nine local venues near campus provide the Longhorn Network programming.

Trudy’s Texas Star restaurant manager John Henson said all Trudy’s locations switched cable service providers to Grande Communications to air Longhorn Network programming to customers, specifically exclusive game coverage.

“Obviously a lot of people don’t have it around here,” Henson said. “All of our locations get people coming to see the Longhorn Network games.”

Henson said Longhorn games are in high demand and help out business with gameday crowds who don’t have access to the network at home and are looking for a place to watch the game.

“We encourage people to come, stay and watch the game,” Henson said. “It’s on all the televisions we have. We have the audio on, and on home game day we have a barbecue smoker outside.”

UT and ESPN formed the Longhorn Network in 2011, agreeing to a 20-year commitment in which ESPN would own and operate the network’s 24-hour Longhorn coverage.

The network will air a few home football games exclusively, including UT games against New Mexico State, Mississippi and Kansas, with analysis by former Longhorn running back Ricky Williams and former University of Georgia quarterback David Greene.

The network’s coverage includes 175 events, broadcasting 20 sports along with studio shows, historical programming and original series. UT football head coach Mack Brown has said he spends six hours per week on the three shows on which he appears.

Last year, Grande Communications President Matthew Murphy said the cable provider covers almost 25 percent of the city and provides service to the UT area. Since reaching a deal with UT Athletics in July, Grande is also the service provider for the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

“Now we not only deliver value to students but enable Texas Athletics to finally have access to LHN and all other channels within their facilities,” Murphy said.

Last September, AT&T U-verse picked up the network following months of negotiation between other cable providers and ESPN. Other service providers offer the network as part of its programming in the Houston area, Kansas City and Illinois among other areas. 

Justin Connolly, Longhorn Network programming vice president, recently said Time Warner Cable and Comcast will not be carrying the network’s programming in the near future. Time Warner Cable and Comcast are major service providers in the Austin and Houston areas, respectively.

Mary Knight, associate vice president of UT’s Budget Office, said the network brings in $10 million every year for the University, half of which is allocated to academics and has led to the creation of half a dozen endowed chair positions for faculty. The other half is allocated to UT Athletics.

Longhorn Network spokeswoman Kristy Ozmun said the network has expanded its programming beyond sports coverage and intends to broadcast events and speakers on campus. Ozmun said students living on campus or in West Campus should have little trouble getting access to the network’s sports coverage.

West Campus apartment complexes are also working to cater to students who want to access Longhorn Network programming in their homes. Some large apartment complexes, like 2400 Nueces, pay extra to cable providers that don’t carry the Longhorn Network to make the network available to students, according to Melanie Carlson, apartment leasing and marketing manager for 2400 Nueces.

Carlson said the 304-room apartment complex, which opened in July, offers the network free for tenants. Carlson said the apartment complex doesn’t rely on the Longhorn Network to fill its rooms, but it is a draw for students.

“We wanted to provide it for our residents because it’s a major incentive for students,” Carlson said. “And a lot of places do not offer Longhorn Network, especially in West Campus.”

Local businesses may take a hit this Saturday by not being able to show the UT-Kansas football game. ESPN still has not reached a deal with a major Central Texas cable operator to broadcast the Longhorn Network.

Keri Potts, a LHN spokeswoman, said negotiations with Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network and Comcast cable providers have been inactive for more than a month. Many local sports bars, including Pluckers and Cuatro’s, have tried to get LHN but have had no luck. Grande Communications and Verizon FiOS are currently the only major cable providers that carry the network in Central Texas.

Munson Stodder, general manager for Pluckers on Rio Grande, said his restaurant currently has DirecTV and a Time Warner Cable box but still does not get LHN. Munson said he ordered the cable box because he hoped Time Warner would begin to offer LHN and said he would switch to Grande if it were an option. Grande is currently providing services in certain parts of Austin.

“It’s not our decision to play or not to play the LHN,” Munson said. “Some people would say we just don’t want to pay the extra money, but I would have LHN playing here every day if I could.”

Despite the obstacles, Munson said his restaurant still plays the game’s full audio and does not expect to take a huge hit by not being able to show the game on Saturday. Munson said his restaurant was luckier than others because of student pregame and postgame rushes but that other restaurants, like the Pluckers on Research Boulevard and South Lamar Boulevard, could see losses ranging from $2,000-3,000 from not being able to show the game.

Munson said he hopes ESPN will reach an agreement by next January when swimming, track and baseball start up.

Ryan Kelly, a spokesman for Time Warner, said Time Warner has had discussions with ESPN about carrying LHN but has not come to an agreement at this time. Kelly also said customer inquiries about LHN have been low.

Wendy Myrick, assistant manager at Cuatro’s on 24th Street, said Cuatro’s expects to take a hit in profits on Saturday. She also said Cuatro’s was very disappointed that LHN has not worked out a deal with any major providers, because customers have been calling constantly to ask whether the bar is going to show the game on Saturday.

Cuatro’s currently uses Time Warner Cable and Dish Network.

Myrick said it is sad Cuatro’s won’t be able to show the game because it has one of the biggest TV screens in Austin and has done its best to support LHN.

“We’ve been doing anything we can to promote LHN and it just hasn’t worked out the way we wanted,” Myrick said.

“There will be disappointment [on Saturday, but] we’re not telling people we’re not showing it until the second it comes on. There’s still a chance.”

Myrick said Cuatro’s will show other games on Saturday to compensate for the UT-Kansas game.

Petroleum engineering senior Philippe Brady said he is angry at how long it’s taking the network and cable operators to reach a deal because it primarily affects the fans in the end.

“Our school has an unprecedented network that could change the face of college sports, and a vast majority of Texas students can’t watch it,” Brady said. “This network is something students should be proud of, but all we can do is wonder what we’re missing out on.”

Printed on Friday, October 28, 2011 as: Bars starting to suffer by not carrying LHN