Coke Teams With CSTV

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College Sports Television's recent marketing and investment partnership with The Coca-Cola Co. could provide unique programming opportunities for the upstart sports network.

As part of Coke's proposed $15 million deal with CSTV — including a $10-million equity stake in the privately owned 24-hour sports service — the soft-drink company is expected to develop programming and other entertainment initiatives related to the college-sports genre, CSTV president Brian Bedol said.

"They have such a deep history in college sports and relationships with numerous schools," Bedol said. "We look forward to working with them in a content-development capacity."

While Bedol would not reveal specific programming initiatives, he did say Coke's initial programming foray would include sponsorship of the network's Sunday-night package of live events involving the University of Notre Dame.

The partners also will create new initiatives to complement Coca-Cola's recently announced 11-year sponsorship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its 87 national championship events.

"In addition to our equity investment, we will work closely with [CSTV] in developing new and non-traditional joint marketing opportunities, combining the vision and expertise of CSTV with Coca-Cola's reach, distribution and network of consumer connections," Coca-Cola senior vice president Chuck Fruit said.

CSTV, which presently has carriage on DirecTV Inc.'s satellite platform, is in discussions with several MSOs, but no deals have been reached, Bedol said.

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