The long-rumored agreement between ESPN and the University of Texas to create a network of sorts for the university has come to fruition. My goodness, this is some pricey fruit we've got on the scale here: ESPN will pay $300 million for a 20 year contract with Texas to "broadcast live UT athletic events, shoulder programming and non-sports university content." ESPN is the best boyfriend, because man they are so not scared of commitment.
Texas already has overlapping football rights via the Big 12's television contract, meaning ESPN will shell out something like $15 million a year for one, perhaps two Longhorn football games and make up the rest on basketball and the relatively paltry revenue from other sports. How will this work? That is a very good question, and fortunately for the Longhorns that is not Texas' problem. They're the ones who just get to roll in their estimated $137 million athletics budget for the year 2010-2011, which just got fatter at the margins for future years thanks to ESPN's largesse.
In comparison, the total budget for Big 12 competition Iowa State came to $45 million for the 2008-2009 year. In the arms race of athletic spending in the Big 12, Texas is clearly the United States, and everyone else is just hoping they don't invade.