UT, ESPN Pair Up On $300 Million TV Deal

Colt McCoy at the national championship gameWell, it’s official. After months of whispers and rumors, UT and ESPN announced today a 20-year, $300 million TV deal for a new 24-hour University of Texas channel unlike anything ever undertaken before. Take that, Pac-10!

All kidding aside, this is a monster deal for the University, and not just for Athletics.

The way it is structured, UT gets $10 million a year for the first five years. Half of that goes straight to the academic side.

President Bill Powers sent out a gleeful e-mail to supporters today announcing the deal and some of his plans for that new cash.

His first move — and this is telling — is to endow a $1 million faculty chair in philosophy and another in physics. Consider for a moment the beauty of “the worldwide leader in sports” bankrolling a philosophy chair in Texas.

It goes without saying that the main draw of this deal is UT’s phenomenal Athletics department, the rise of which under DeLoss Dodds has been well documented, including in these pages. But President Powers insists that the TV channel will show lots of non-athletic programming.

“The UT network will not only showcase all our athletics programs,” Powers wrote. “It will give the world an unparalleled view of our academic enterprise and the creative and innovative people within it. The network will produce television that shares our programs in the performing arts, the humanities, the sciences, and other disciplines.”

The new channel is set to launch in September 2011.

Photo courtesy of UT Athletics


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