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TMCNet:  Texas-Iowa State game to air, but Longhorn Network remains tough to find

[November 09, 2012]

Texas-Iowa State game to air, but Longhorn Network remains tough to find

Nov 09, 2012 (Austin American-Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Today's Texas-Iowa State football game will be off limits for millions of fans nationwide without the year-old Longhorn Network.

The cable channel, a joint venture between UT and ESPN, is available locally only to AT&T U-verse and Grande Communications subscribers. Elsewhere, Verizon FiOS, as well as several small cable providers in East Texas, also carry LHN.

Local ABC affiliates serving much of Iowa also will carry the Big 12 matchup.

"Time Warner Cable has had discussions with ESPN about the Longhorn Network, and at this time we do not have an agreement in place," the company said this week in a statement provided to the American-Statesman.

Time Warner Cable recently launched its own regional sports network that carries Los Angeles Lakers games and is, according to ESPN, applying pressure to competitors to add the channel -- even though Time Warner has declined to pick up LHN and other sports-focused networks that have popped up across the country, according to David Preschlack, executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing for the Disney and ESPN Networks Group.

Customers of Time Warner Cable, the area's dominant pay-TV provider, also don't have access to the recently launched Comcast SportsNet Houston, which has rights to air a number of Houston Astros and Houston Rockets games. It has, however, added the NFL Network, NFL RedZone and beIN Sport, a soccer-focused channel, to its lineup in recent weeks.

"Time Warner Cable obviously sees the value of the regional sports network business based upon their investments," Preschlack said. "We've reached agreements with other operators -- both large and small -- and we're merely asking them to pay fair market rate for LHN. We're hopeful they will see the light and deliver this valuable service to their customers." Dish Network and DirecTV have yet to ink deals to carry LHN, as well.

Cuatro's, at 1004 W. 24th St. near the University of Texas campus, switched to Grande so it could carry this weekend's game, owner Cuatro Kowalski said.

Kowalski said he signed with a different cable provider earlier this year, believing the sports bar would have access to LHN. After extensive advertising, he learned that wasn't the case shortly before kickoff for a game that was airing exclusively on LHN.

"There were some pretty upset people," he said. "I personally had to turn away 150 to 200 people." Executives with San Marcos-based Grande heard about the bar's plight and arranged to extend the company's network by a few blocks to offer service to Cuatro's.

"It was a whirlwind fiasco that has, thankfully, turned into a bit of good news," Kowalski said.

___ (c)2012 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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