Former Texas AD reveals Aggies' stance on idea of statewide TV network
Long before conference-wide networks like the SEC Network were a way of life to watch college sports across the country, Texas and Texas A&M discussed a possible statewide network.
Of course, the Longhorn Network has since become a unique TV offering in college sports, but former Longhorns AD DeLoss Dodds, who led the UT athletic department from 1981-2013, revealed in a recent interview how the conversation unfolded with then-Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne.
“We talked about how we could do that with television, and we talked about a network. We figured that it would cost us a lot of money to do it. I talked to Bill about the possibility of putting the two universities together and forming a statewide network … then we talked to FOX about it, and they offered us $3 million a year plus all the expenses. That was huge. Then ESPN comes in and offers an average of $15 million per year for 20 years,” Dodds said during a recent appearance on The Austin American Statesman’s “On Second Thought” podcast with Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden, per 247Sports.
“But Bill had turned us down on it. Bill didn’t want to do that. I don’t know if it worked out — if it would have been a good deal or a bad deal. But we did make the offer, and (Texas A&M) did refuse it.”
It turns out, the dominoes that fell for A&M worked out for the Aggies, and Dodds agreed.
The Longhorn Network, operated by ESPN, was launched in 2011. It ultimately played a partial role in Texas A&M’s departure for the SEC in time for the 2012 football season.
“Their football looks good,” Dodds said. “The SEC fits A&M, and they’ve had success over there. The money has been good. Their fans like it. They fill their stadium. I’d say it’s been a good thing for them.”