The Longhorn Network is turning one year old in August and still looking for a home run carrier to pick up the channel’s content.
Time Warner Cable would be a pretty darn good start.
Per Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman, Texas and Time Warner are no closer to reaching a distribution deal, but…
But an industry source told me Time Warner is interested in trying to buy the Longhorn Network or at least partner with ESPN on the property, for which ESPN is shelling out $300 million over 20 years. Time Warner representatives at the corporate office have not returned phone calls for several weeks, and the cable provider won’t even disclose the last time it negotiated with ESPN. ESPN has failed to reach any distribution agreements with major cable providers or satellite companies.
In a statement Sunday, Time Warner said, “We had discussions with ESPN (about distribution), and we did not come to an agreement on terms for a contract that would allow Time Warner Cable to distribute the Longhorn Network. At this time, there aren’t plans to carry the Longhorn Network.”
Whether “at this time” means “just not right now” or “never”, having TWC a part of the deal would be a heck of a boost for the LHN, which got off to a slow distribution start out of the gate last year. That shouldn’t have been completely unexpected — remember, there’s no template for running a third-tier network of this magnitude — but eventually the network is going to have to do something other than tick off other Big 12 members if it’s going to be a sustainable operation.