In a press release Tuesday afternoon, ESPN announced that the fledgling Longhorn Network will televise two games during the 2011 football season -- the opener against Rice on September 3 and a Big 12 contest to be determined.
The news addresses a major concern for the network -- that the third-tier rights held by the ESPN-produced channel would seriously limit the number of football games it could televise. ESPN no doubt opted to move a game off of its other channels in order to give Longhorn Network a major boost in its inaugural season and to help secure better distribution as the sports broadcasting behemoth seeks to finalize distribution deals in advance of the August 26 launch.
The opener against Rice will be the highlight of week-long Longhorn football coverage leading up to the game, beginning with Game Plan with, televised the Thursday before the game. On September 3, the Longhorn Network will feature a two-hour Texas GameDay telecast live from DKR -- similar to the popular College GameDay, followed by Texas GameDay Final, a two-hour wrap of the game live from the field, as well as other content throughout the week.