The Longhorn Network has been a failed experiment for ESPN. Carriage for the channel is still extremely limited. Yet, that's not stopping ESPN from continuing to throw games onto the network in an attempt to get people to watch. It hasn't really worked yet, but don't fault ESPN for not trying.
Longhorn Network is now driving another fanbase up the wall: basketball fans. It's looking more and more like six Big 12 hoops games will be airing on Longhorn Network this year – including Oklahoma's Big 12 opener with Texas according to The Oklahoman. Tough luck, Sooners fans! Your team might have made the NCAA Tournament last year, but you're not going to be able to watch your conference opener against one of your hated rivals. And if you do, it's going to be on their network.
You have to feel for West Virginia fans too, because they're also getting screwed with their game with the Longhorns airing on the Longhorn Network. I don't need to tell you that Morgantown is way, way out of the Longhorn Network's footprint. It's also a bit telling that the affected games, with the exception of the tilt with the Sooners, exclusively feature the Big 12's worst teams from this past season – West Virginia, Texas Tech, and TCU.
This situation is really only an issue because the Longhorn Network exists. You're not seeing lower level SEC, Big 10, and Pac-12 schools get screwed over like this because of the conference and regional network system. Could you imagine if a Gator Network existed, and Georgia fans couldn't watch one of the games with Florida because they didn't get it?
It shows just how much power ESPN wields in the sports world. With their Big 12 TV rights they get to decide who plays when on what network. ESPN gets to do all they can to help the University of Texas and their struggling channel at the expense of other schools and their fanbases. LHN has succeeded in a couple areas – creating headaches and unlevel playing fields. Add Big 12 basketball fans to the list of people irritated by the existence of LHN.