It's not exactly the Longhorn Network, and it might not cause its regional rivals to start thinking about jumping to the SEC. Still, as of today, Texas isn't the only Big 12 program with its own school-specific network. Kansas State is jumping on the bandwagon, too.
On Monday, Kansas State announced the formation of K-StateHD.TV, an online-only subscription video service that will begin broadcasting events on Aug. 30. The network will function as a "third-tier" broadcast outlet, where fans can find such online fare as K-State's "season-opening football game against Eastern Kentucky and home games in other sports such as volleyball," as well as "game replays, news conferences, on-campus lectures and original programming," according to the Wichita Eagle.
It's an innovative idea, and one you can expect to see copied in some form by a host of schools in the coming years. After all, we already live in a world in which people can stream movies from Netflix or NBA games through their Apple TV, a world in which pretty much anything you want to see online can not only be found with a few clicks on your laptop but streamed live onto your flatscreen HDTV. (In case you're wondering, yes, Apple TV's Airplay has changed my life.) In fact, one could argue that live sports are the only reason why you need a cable or satellite subscription these days. We're a long way away from a total sports TV revolution, but we might not be as far as you think. So why not get out in front of the trend?
The question then, is whether K-State fans are willing to pay for so-so football games and women's volleyball contests. Kansas State plans to run a tiered service: Much of the broadcasting will be free, but subscribers will have to pay $9.95 a month or $79.95 per year for premium access. That's about as much as a Netflix plan. Will K-State fans tack it on and fire up the laptops on August 30? Or is that price point too high? I guess we'll find out.
In the long view, at least, you have to give K-State dap on the idea. The Wildcats's recent attempts at brand-boosting have been documented here before. But you can't revolutionize your brand on acronyms alone. It takes innovation and execution to thrive in the modern college sports media landscape. This is just the latest iteration of that ongoing technological -- and, frankly, financial -- march.
(Hat tip: CBS)