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ESPN Scores Longhorn Network Affiiliate Pact with AT&T U-verse

On the eve of the kickoff of the University of Texas' 2012 football season, AT&T U-verse TV has reached an agreement with ESPN for carriage of the Longhorn Network.
The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, will let the telco's video subscribers watch the Longhorn's opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. (CT).

A spokeswoman for ESPN said that carriage conversations continue with other top distributors that serve the state of Texas and beyond. While Longhorn Network has affiliate pacts with Verizon FiOS and a number of area providers including Grande Communications, it has not come to terms with Time Warner Cable, Comcast, DirecTV and  Dish Network, among others.

Launched last August, the network, focusing on University of Texas sports, academics and cultural programming, now will be available to U-verse TV customers in Texas subscribing to the U100 package and above. In other parts of the U-verse footprint, customers getting the U450 package will be able to view the programming in HD and SD.

Under the pact, AT&T also is planning to launch a live, linear feed of Longhorn Network online to subscribers via computers, smartphones and tablets at some future date.

"We know fans are passionate about watching Longhorn football, and we're thrilled to offer Longhorn Network to U-verse TV customers in Texas and nationwide," said Jeff Weber, president of content and advertising services at AT&T Home Solutions, in a statement. "This is another example of how we continue to deliver the content customers want."

David Preschlack, executive vice president, Disney and ESPN Media Networks noted that the agreement brings the Longhorn Network "to more than a million Longhorn fans in Texas and throughout the country."