Doug Lederman’s piece highlights what an elite research university with quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and vibrant extracurricular offerings can do. (There are maybe 10 universities that could pull this off and a few of them are already involved with cable programming — As a Michigan grad, I love the Big Ten Channel.)
From Inside Higher Education:
Officials from the University of Texas at Austin and ESPN said jointly on Wednesday that they would create a 24-hour network to promote the institution’s sports programs and — while they’re at it — “a taste” of its academic and cultural offerings, too. The as-yet-unnamed network, into which ESPN will pour its programming expertise and its mighty marketing and distribution powers, will be worth about $250 million to the university over 20 years (or about $10 million to $12 million a year), which President William Powers Jr. said would be split equally between athletics and academic interests.
While on the surface this looks like Clark Kerr’s multiversity in action, this type of relationship will open avenues for entrepreneurship and innovation at the student, faculty, and community level. For those who believe that higher education should provide opportunity, spread knowledge and improve society, this ESPN-UT tie up is an interesting development.
For those of you interested in some more details read another snippet below:
Powers, the UT president, and ESPN’s senior vice president for college sports programming, Burke Magnus, said that in addition to covering the games of all of the university’s teams and digging into the university’s archives, the network would do a “deep dive” into Texas high school sports and “get creative on original programming, too.” (For a humorous look at what probably will not be covered, see this post from CNBC’s Darren Rovell.)
Powers estimated that the network could air up to three hours a day of non-athletics content, including “musical performances, plays, and documentaries by faculty members and students,” he told the Austin American-Statesman.
The arrangement will generate at least $10 million a year for the university, and Powers said that half that would go to “academic initiatives,” beginning with the establishment of faculty chairs in physics and philosophy.