Entry #23, December 7, 2010
Article from: Black Voices
Calling all HBCU alum: If you’re really into your alma mater, now you’ll get a chance to root for your college team on TV, all the time. In 2011, Historically Black Colleges and Universities will have their own television network, mainly featuring black collegiate sports programming, via ESPN.
ESPN has struck a programming deal with the HBCU Network because EPSN owns the rights to games from various athletic conferences. HBCU Network is based in Atlanta and is headed by Curtis Symonds, who was previously head of affiliate sales and marketing at BET. Published reports say the HBCUs will jointly have a 20% equity stake in the network.
Symonds told SportsNewser.com that he plans a full-blown launch into 10 million homes in August 2011. Before then, however, Symonds is hoping to have a “soft launch” of the network in February, during Black History Month. While athletics will be the main draw, the network will also feature lifestyle content and various forms of “edutainment” – a mix of educational and entertainment-driven shows.
Even though I didn’t attend a historically black college, I’d be curious to see what kind of programming evolves on this new network. I was also inspired to see that – despite the all-out race for ratings in the TV industry – HBCU Network doesn’t see itself as competition for BET and TV One, which both have large Black audiences.
On the contrary, TV One president Johnathan Rodgers told TargetMarketNews.com that he’s in talks with HBCU Network to work together with TV One handling many of HBCU Network’s back-end functions, like its administrative, legal and operational duties.
What about you? Will you watch this new HBCU Network? And do you think it will be a hit with audiences?