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ESPN Preps for Longhorn Launch

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News
It was a little too hot for full length pants Friday morning, when ESPN's college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit prepped for the the GameDay broadcast from the UT-Austin campus.

Work crews and curiosity seekers converged on the UT campus today as ESPN set the stage for the official launch of the Longhorn Network.

Tonight at 6:00 PM, the network, billed as the first devoted to a single university, will go live with a "College GameDay" broadcast from the six pack on UT's South Mall.  But, if you're thinking about beating the heat and watching from home, you might want to think again.

It's looking like the Network could launch without a local distributor, a fact that UT President Bill Powers played down in an email yesterday:

It's customary for distribution negotiations to continue until the last possible minute, and ours has been no exception. Deals are still being finalized, and to find out whether your provider is carrying the network check

Only Verizon FiOS, which does not provide service here in Central Texas, has signed up to carry the UT/ESPN channel. Though there are rumors circulating that more deals could be announced, perhaps even before the 6:00 PM network launch.