Historically Black Colleges and Universities From the SWAC, MEAC and SIAC Receive Unprecedented National Exposure Through Partnership With CSTV

By From the PRNewswire Services
Updated: April 27, 2005

CSTV to Televise Football, Basketball, Other Sports and Cultural Events CSTV’s ‘Football Classic Series’ This Fall Will Feature Storied Rivalries Such As Florida A&M vs. Tennessee State, Alabama State vs. Southern and Jackson State vs. Alcorn State CSTV Online’s HBCU Broadband Will Feature Live Video and Audio of Hundreds of Games and Events From 3 Conferences and Their 32 Member Institutions 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.

The cornerstone of the relationship will be an expansion of CSTV’s pre-existing football agreement with the SWAC and will result in the creation of an annual Football Classic Series premiering on CSTV this fall featuring some of the most storied and most intense rivalries in all of college football. CSTV’s Football Classic Series will be a national showcase not only for the actual games on Saturday, but also for the entire weekend experience unique to historically Black universities and colleges.

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 In addition to televising athletic events featuring SWAC, MEAC and SIAC member institutions, CSTV will develop original programming that celebrates the rich cultural heritage and the pageantry, tradition and rivalries that permeate throughout each of these conferences. CSTV original programming will focus on the legendary bands and drum lines, the great student-athletes spanning all sports who have represented the schools, elaborate tailgates which are transformed into massive family reunions, weekend cultural events surrounding the Classics including concerts and art exhibits, and other elements which make the historically Black college and university experience so unique.

Consistent with CSTV’s mission utilizing the latest technologies to connect more college sports fans with more college sports, CSTV Online will bring its industry-leading technology and marketing platform and create HBCU Broadband featuring live streaming video and audio, as well as live in-game statistics, scores and play-by-play, of hundreds of men’s and women’s athletic events from all 32 schools represented in this partnership. As a result, an unprecedented amount of fans and alumni will have access to Black college athletics in a broadband environment, creating unsurpassed awareness of the SWAC, MEAC and SIAC conferences, schools, athletic programs and student-athletes.

“The historically Black colleges and universities which comprise the SWAC, MEAC and SIAC boast a tradition of fielding some of the finest teams, and developing some of the finest student-athletes, in the country,” said Brian Bedol, president and CEO, CSTV. “Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Marquis Grissom and Edwin Moses are among the many legends who excelled at historically Black colleges and universities before enjoying stellar careers in the professional and Olympic ranks. We are eager to showcase the next generation of great student-athletes from these conferences and schools.”

Bedol, along with CSTV co-chairman Steven Greenberg, also founded Classic Sports Network in 1995. They later sold the network to ESPN. Re-named ESPN Classic, network, it is now in more than 55 million homes.

“Southern is proud to be a featured program in this new television partnership between CSTV, New Vision Sports and the HBCUs,” said Dr. Edward Jackson, chancellor of Southern University. “This agreement delivers the exposure our university and our followers deserve, and will provide CSTV with an extremely large base of viewers.”

“This is an unprecedented agreement for HBCUs that Morehouse and the SIAC are excited and honored to be part of,” said Andre Pattillo, Morehouse athletic director.

“The ability of New Vision Sports and CSTV to properly provide our universities and fans with a national television schedule is a great opportunity for everyone involved and will open doors for HBCUs for many years to come,” says Patrick Carter, Alabama State athletic director.

“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.”

Famous former student-athletes from these institutions include: Walter Payton (Jackson State), Jerry Rice and Deacon Jones (Mississippi Valley State), Mel Blount and Lou Brock (Southern), Willis Reed (Grambling State) and Zelmo Beatty (Prairie View A&M). Also: Harry Carson, Willie Mays Aikens and Donnie Shell (South Carolina State), Marquis Grissom (Florida A&M), John Stallworth (Alabama A&M) and Greg Lloyd (Fort Valley State), as well as Shannon Sharpe (Savannah State), Howard Ballard (Albany State), Edwin Moses (Morehouse), Althea Gibson (Florida A&M) and Andre Dawson and Vince Coleman (Florida A&M).

CSTV Networks is a multi-media company that consists of the first-ever 24-hour college sports television network, College Sports TV; the leading college sports online network, CSTV.com; and the first ever 24-hour college sports radio network, SIRIUS College Sports Radio. Through its numerous platforms, CSTV provides more live college sports games, events, news, information, analysis and broadband content, and reaches more college sports fans, than any other company.

College Sports TV, voted by cable operators as the No. 1 emerging cable network in a 2003 Beta research study, televises regular season and championship event coverage from over 35 men’s and women’s sports across every major collegiate athletic conference, as well as many NCAA and NAIA Championships.

CSTV.com, the most-trafficked college sports Web site, and the CSTV.com Broadband Network consisting of 183 affiliate colleges and athletic conferences, are the No. 1 online source for college sports broadband content, news, information, scores and analysis. SIRIUS College Sports Radio broadcasts a comprehensive package of college football and basketball games from teams representing 16 conferences, including the Big Ten, Big 12, BIG EAST, Pac-10 and SEC, in addition to Notre Dame.

CSTV Networks was co-founded by President and CEO Brian Bedol, Chairman Steve Greenberg and Executive Vice President Chris Bevilacqua. Bevilacqua is a former senior executive with Nike Inc., where he headed the company’s successful foray into the college market.