OU launches Sooner Sports TV in partnership with FOX
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, September 13, 2012
9/13/12 at 7:25 AM
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NORMAN - Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione enjoyed saying the number 9 million when discussing his school's new 10-year partnership with FOX Sports on Wednesday morning.
OU and FOX Sports introduced Sooner Sports TV, a multi-platform network that will provide immediate and wide distribution of at least 1,000 hours of OU sports programming annually.
"The wide distribution opportunity and being able to launch and reach nearly 9 million people with the opportunity to grow that base is exciting," Castiglione said during a conference call.
Programming blocks featuring revenue and Olympic Sports will be distributed on FOX Sports Networks and will reach approximately 9 million homes in the Oklahoma-Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana region. Select programming may also be made available nationwide on FOX College Sports on cable or other outer market regional sports packages via satellite.
Terms of the decade-long contract were not disclosed, but a source familiar with the negotiations estimates the value at about $5 million annually.
The Oklahoma-FOX partnership differs from the Longhorn Network, which is owned and operated by ESPN. Instead of its own network, OU will have programming shown on an already existing family of FOX networks.
Did Oklahoma explore its own exclusive network?
"We did have a chance to examine several different options, including a standalone 24/7 type of channel," Castiglione said. "But this really gives us the best of all possible worlds. We have substantial OU branding and programming along with immediate and full distribution throughout Oklahoma, Texas and our region.
"We really thought this approach would serve our fans in the best way possible."
Castiglione didn't want to discuss the Longhorn Network, which is 13 months old. The LHN doesn't have a major cable or satellite carrier, but recently announced a deal with cable provider AT&T U-verse.
"We've been more focused on what's best for the University of Oklahoma and reaching our fan base," Castiglione said. "Again, when we can take the programming that we have, the live events and create opportunities that have never been there before and launch a multi-network platform network strategy and reach 9 million fans ... it's compelling."
Oklahoma's partnership with FOX will include an online component featuring "all-access" contests that aren't available on FOX Sports Networks. That will include live streaming, archived games and web-exclusive content.
"I think it's fabulous," OU football coach Bob Stoops said. "Anything that's great for the university and the athletic department in all of the sports ... I think it's great coverage. You've got to complement our administration, the way they went about it behind the scenes and got it all accomplished in a positive way."
Nearly all of the content will be produced by the Sooner Vision production unit, which has expanded to a staff of 95 over the past five years.
"One of the things that really excited us about this relationship was when you looked and saw the infrastructure that the university had invested in for their SoonerVision Properties," Fox Southwest General Manager Jon Heidtke said. "It's a state-of-the-art facility."
Sports events to be shown include encore presentations of OU football games originally televised on FOX and other networks and the spring game; approximately eight exclusive basketball games and select encores; select exclusive women's basketball games plus encores; and exclusive events and encores of Olympic sports.
Sooner Sports TV programming blocks will also showcase a variety of original programming and studio shows, including coaches' shows, weekly magazine shows and press conferences.
The school will also showcase historical archives and give fans the opportunity to relive moments in OU history.
"They have a tremendous amount of archival footage going back into the '30s and '40s and Bud Wilkinson days," Heidtke said. "The OU fans are really going to enjoy when we bring that to life, but college football fans in general will like taking a walk down memory lane and reliving those great moments of college football past."
Original Print Headline: OU launches Sooner Sports TV
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