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Five things to know about Longhorn Network on its fifth anniversary

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1. The eyes of Texas – Longhorn Network launched on Aug. 26, 2011 and became the “41st acre” of the University of Texas. Longhorn Network has produced more than 900 live events since launch and is committed to covering more than 175 sporting events every year. In the last five years, the network has covered UT’s 82 NCAA tournament appearances, 37 conference titles, four football bowl game appearances and four national championships. LHN’s programming doesn’t end with sporting events, though, as the network stays true to its Texas roots and “Keeps Austin Weird” with music, food, culture and academic programming all year long.

2. Reminds me of, the one I love. . . Deep in the Heart of Texas – Longhorn Network is available to an estimated 20 million subscribers nationwide, bringing the Longhorn faithful year-long programming deep into the heart of Texas. In addition to the national carriage, everyone who lives in the great state of Texas has at least four cable or satellite TV providers that carry LHN in their area. Longhorn Network has increased distribution availability every year since launch and is available to stream for subscribers on WatchESPN and the ESPN app.

3. And the award goes to – Longhorn Network has the most College Sports Media Awards of any network. LHN surpassed ESPN’s record in 2015 when it earned its 12th award. In addition to writing its name in history at the College Sports Media Awards, the network has won 17 Lone Star Emmy Awards. Horns Up!

4. All right, all right, all right – LHN’s opening monologue featured Texas superfan and Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey (see video below). Since launch, the network has a long list of famous athletes and celebrities who’ve been featured on the air. In fact, the network has its own Mount Rushmore with four living U.S. Presidents having appeared on the network during the LBJ Library’s Civil Rights Summit, a three-day televised celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

5. The stars at night, are big and bright – In addition to award-winning content, Longhorn Network has sprouted some of ESPN’s most familiar college sports faces and is the workplace of some of the country’s most well-known athletes:

  • College GameDay’s Samantha Ponder (formerly Steele) and ESPN reporter Kaylee Hartung both got their starts at ESPN as hosts on LHN.
  • Two of the biggest figures in Texas football in the last two decades contribute to the network’s signature pregame show Texas GameDay – Heisman Award winner Ricky Williams and BCS National Champion Vince Young.
  • Behind the camera, ESPN Senior Vice President Stephanie Druley – who led the network’s launch in 2011 – now oversees the entirety of ESPN event productions as well as associated studio programming.

Friday, ESPN and Texas will celebrate the anniversary by lighting the UT Tower burnt orange and illuminating the number “5” on each side.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Five years ago, Longhorn Network premiered with this video featuring narration by actor and University of Texas alum Matthew McConaughey, who would win a 2014 Academy Award for Best Actor for his “Dallas Buyers Club” performance. ESPN correspondent and feature reporter Tom Rinaldi wrote the words.

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