CSTV’s Move Could Help Bring New Viewers, Fans To Black College Sports

By Gregory Moore
Updated: April 27, 2005

Historically Black Colleges and Universities now have a television network in their corner. CSTV has added three historic HBCU conferences to their line up for the upcoming year and the exposure is a winning combination for both the schools involved and the network itself.

SAN ANTONIO – This is bigger than anything that BET Networks has been trying to do or what Willie Gary’s network has been pushing over the years. It’s bigger than even when ESPN tries to half-heartedly broadcast a CIAA tournament with Stephen A. Smith providing bad color analysis. This news comes from the folks over at College Sports TV (CSTV) and what this deal does is essentially put Black collegiate sports into the mainstream and into millions of homes. So what is the announcement? The big news is that collegiate sports and events at MEAC, SWAC and SIAC schools will be aired on the network. Here’s the official announcement: “NEW YORK, April 26 /PRNewswire/ — In conjunction with New Vision Sports Properties (www.newvisionsports.net), CSTV Networks, Inc. (www.CSTV.com) has secured an exclusive multi-year multi-media and marketing rights partnership starting this fall featuring the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), premier athletic conferences representing historically Black colleges and universities. As a result, the three conferences, their respective member institutions and their student-athletes, not to mention their rich history, will receive unprecedented national exposure on-air, online and on-campus.” “The agreement, created through the exclusive marketing and television agency of the MEAC, SWAC and SIAC, New Vision Sports Properties, gives CSTV exclusive rights to televise regular season and championship football, men’s and women’s basketball and all other men’s and women’s sports from these conferences, and also includes all broadband, high-definition, Internet, video-on-demand, and terrestrial and satellite radio rights.” Now for many this may seem either semi-trivial or just another failed attempt to try to bring Black collegiate sports into the mainstream but I don’t think so. If you know anything about CSTV, you know that this is a major endeavor that has some serious players in the project. CSTV covers college athletics in 16 conferences, including the Big Ten, Big 12, BIG EAST, Pac-10 and SEC, in addition to Notre Dame. You can now add these three HBCU conferences to that list.

PAGENTRY HITS THE BIG TIME WITH THIS DEAL CSTV’s deal brings its viewers an entertainment value package that many have not witnessed and the announcement of this historic deal has excited everyone, including CSTV’s founder and CEO.

“CSTV will deploy new and traditional interactive technologies to bring the unique Black college culture to a whole new audience,” said Chris Bevilacqua, co-founder and executive vice president, CSTV. “CSTV’s unsurpassed on-air, online and wireless coverage will shine a spotlight on these schools’ passion, traditions and rivalries which make college sports so special. We will connect more alumni and fans with more SWAC, MEAC and SIAC sports and student-athletes than ever before.”

What this deal also will do is bring the classic football games to the mainstream and where they can enjoy the success that the Bayou Classic has enjoyed for such a long time with its affiliation with NBC networks. The preliminary schedule is as follows: CSTV’s Football Classic Series Schedule (more games will be added this spring) Sat., Sept. 24: Atlanta Football Classic, Florida A&M vs. Tennessee State – 4:00 PM ET Sat., Oct. 1: Gulf Coast Classic, Alabama St. vs. Southern – 4:00 PM ET Sat., Oct. 15: Big Easy Classic, Southern vs. Jackson State – 8:30 PM ET Sat., Nov. 19: Capital City Classic, Jackson State vs. Alcorn State – TBD What will be interesting is to see how well CSTV’s deal works when it comes to doing other sports like basketball, volleyball and baseball. Where these HBCU schools truly suffer is in the indoor sport arena and that is definitely evident when the NCAA Division I tournament begins. With 64 teams vying for a national title, the talent levels are definitely diverse. A school like Hampton has a slim chance against a powerhouse like North Carolina and that is due to an influx of cash flow from the alumni but also the great television deals that the ACC is able to negotiate.

The end result of this deal folks is for these three Black conferences to be able to spawn an audience growth that not only tunes in for the classic match ups but also for the non-traditional watched sports at these schools. Now CSTV isn’t available as a standard channel to many cable systems but the price is affordable and for today’s Black community, this could be just one more tool to ensure that the schools that our forefathers started continue to thrive, survive and arrive into the next millennium competing with the ‘big’ schools. I for one am looking forward seeing how well this deal works out down the road.