Big 12

Texas Can Fire ESPN Talent Who Criticize Team From Longhorn Network

| by Alex Groberman

ESPN talent slated to appear on the University of Texas Longhorn Network better watch what they say.

According to a report by the good people at the Statesmen, University of Texas officials will retain the right to fire the personalities from the World Wide Leader who they deem to “…not reflect the quality and reputation desired by UT for the Network.”

The Statesmen was able to obtain a copy of the contract between the University of Texas, ESPN and media rights holder IMG College through a Freedom of Information request. The contract detailed that despite the fact that ESPN agreed to pay the university $300 million over 20 years, the latter group retained the rights to terminate on-air personalities who they felt could cause detriment to the overall product.

"…in the event that UT reasonably determines that any on-air talent does not reflect the quality and reputation desired by UT for the Network based on inappropriate statements made or actions taken by such talent and so notifies ESPN, ESPN will cause such talent to be promptly replaced (and will in any event no longer allow them on air following such notice)."

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ESPN, as per the agreement, projects to invest $13 million in an effort to put together a studio, while the university’s production costs will begin at around $15 million per year and increase 3 percent on an annual basis. The World Wide Leader also projected that overhead costs would start at $11 million per year and increase by 4 percent increments on an annual basis.

The Longhorn Network is expected to employ approximately 75 people.