01/19/2011 03:28 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

University Of Texas Launches TV Network

It's surely what the people have been clamoring for: a TV station dedicated to the University of Texas-Austin.

In a letter to students obtained by the Huffington Post, UT President Bill Powers announced the birth of UT TV. (View the letter in full below).

"The UT network will not only showcase all our athletics programs -- it will give the world an unparalleled view of our academic enterprise and the creative and innovative people within it," he wrote.

According to the Dallas Morning News, UT made a 20-year deal with ESPN to the tune of $300 million dollars. The network "will broadcast Longhorn sports and some non-athletic content such as campus musical performances."

It was recently announced that the university's flagship campus faces $100 million in cuts due to the state's budget shortfall.

What do you think? Would you watch a TV channel dedicated to your school? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Dear Friends,

I'm delighted to announce the creation of a 24-hour television network dedicated to covering intercollegiate athletics, music, cultural arts, and academics at The University of Texas at Austin.

At UT Austin, we want to define what it means to be the public research university of the 21st century. One of the challenges we face is creating new forms of revenue to support our mission. The UT network is one example of this effort.

The new network is a partnership among UT Austin, ESPN, and IMG College, our multimedia rights marketing partner. We have signed a contract that will guarantee $300 million over 20 years to UT Austin and IMG College.

The UT network will not only showcase all our athletics programs -- it will give the world an unparalleled view of our academic enterprise and the creative and innovative people within it. The network will produce television that shares our programs in the performing arts, the humanities, the sciences, and other disciplines.

During the first five years of the contract, UT will receive about $10 million per year. For these five years, half of that income will be devoted to academic and faculty support. The remainder will support UT Athletics. We will determine at a later date how the funds will be used beyond the initial five-year period.

We plan to use the academic half of the royalty payments to support faculty excellence. To start this process, today I am announcing that we will create two $1-million endowed faculty chairs -- one in the Philosophy Department and the other in the Physics Department. In this way, the UT network will generate millions of dollars for academic and faculty support, and it will strengthen the ability of UT Athletics to be self-sustaining.

This network would not have been possible without the contributions of many people, especially without our strong and enduring bond with our friends, alumni, and fans. The UT family has no equal -- and it's a family that extends to almost every corner of the world. It is this loyalty and support that will make the network a success.

Our Men's and Women's Athletics Directors, DeLoss Dodds and Chris Plonsky, were essential to the creation of the network, and I thank them. This network is the result of a vision DeLoss has pursued for many years. Creating this network is the culmination of that vision and is emblematic of the enormous contributions he has made to our University.

There is no model for the kind of network we're creating, so we have our work cut out for us before the launch date in September 2011. I hope you will enjoy this opportunity to view a much wider assortment of programming from UT Austin. For more information about access to the UT network, contact your local television provider.

Hook 'em Horns!

Bill Powers
The University of Texas at Austin

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