TPSM is proud to host the first public forum for the UT-Austin/ESPN collaboration of The Longhorn Network. UT Athletics Director Chris Plonsky will join ESPN’s Dave Brown and Stephanie Druley on stage at the Cactus Cafe Aug. 30 at 6 pm during a production of KUT’s Views and Brews. KUT’s public affairs reporter Ben Philpott will moderate the discussion. The idea for a public forum was a key finding by the spring 2011 Project: PAYDIRT research associates.
Last spring, UT-Austin (and it’s media rights holder IMG College) agreed on a landmark agreement with ESPN, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, to create The Longhorn Network in a deal valued at $300 million over 20 years. The station is set to launch at 6 pm on Aug. 26 with 24/7 programming on all things burnt orange, the vast majority of which will involve intercollegiate athletics. This is an unprecedented undertaking by both the university and the programmer. The station’s rollout has ramped up with increasing public scrutiny on the implications for not only its Athletics Department, one of the highest-profile in the country, but also the university as a whole.
On Tuesday, TPSM and KUT will begin to unpack these many issues with some of the principal players involved with the formation of The Longhorn Network. Chris Plonsky has worked for UT-Austin for over 22 years, distinguishing herself as one of the most respected professionals in intercollegiate sports. She has served the university in a lead capacity through the feasibility studies for the creation of a dedicated programming presence and both the contract negotiation with ESPN and its implementation. Dave Brown is the Vice President of Programming for The Longhorn Network. He has been with the company since 1987, having served in a variety of programming and program acquisition capacity for ESPN’s family of channels. Stephanie Druley, a UT-Austin College of Communication alumna, is the Vice President of Production for The Longhorn Network. She first joined ESPN in 1990, rising to work as Senior Coordinating Producer for NFL Studio Production.
Views and Brews is open to the public, though seating is limited. Doors open at 5:30.