College TV Network Sports New Programs

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CSTV: College Sports Television continues to firm up its programming, moving ahead on three fronts.

The newbie network, which has aired 1,500 hours of original programs since its April 7 launch, will add many more through a deal with CBS Sports for rights to championships in six collegiate sports.

CSTV also scored a programming, marketing and advertising agreement with Nike Inc. and outlined the initial lineup for its Olympic anthology series, U.S. Olympic Pursuit.

As part of the deal with CBS, CSTV will present the first-ever live telecasts of the National Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Division I women's ice hockey; Division I, II and III women's lacrosse; Division I and II men's lacrosse; and Division I field hockey and men's and women's water polo.

"We've worked with CBS in the past with Division I baseball, women's lacrosse and by rebroadcasting gymnastics and track and field," CSTV CEO Brian Bedol said. "The relationship has been good, so we decided to formalize things."

He wouldn't disclose deal terms, except to say there were cross-promotional elements both ways. CBS officials didn't return calls by press time.

The first championship event to air on CSTV is women's field hockey, slated for Nov. 23 at 12:30 p.m. ET. "It's a sport with a lot of tradition," Bedol said.

Men's water polo is on Dec. 7, and other championships play out in May, except for women's hockey semifinals and championship on March 26 and 28.

Lacrosse, Bedol noted, "is one of the fastest-growing participatory sports for boys and girls throughout the country."

The Nike pact includes video-on-demand, broadband and retail components. Nike will sponsor and help develop Nike Training Camp, an instructional series featuring top collegiate coaches. It bows on Nov. 23 with University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams.

CSTV also expects Nike to sponsor clinics and tie in with MSOs. "This is a program that also helps our affiliates," Bedol said. Nike's presence at clinics could trigger local ad sales opportunities with footwear and apparel retailers.

CSTV also benefits from exposure via the "Nike Rivalry Series," which features a mobile truck unit that rumbles to key football matchups. The channel is creating on-air reports and other programming to originate from the truck.

Coming soon is the first installment of U.S. Olympic Pursuit, a showcase for athletes in events or qualifying competitions leading up to the Olympics. The 2003 Sunkist International Freestyle Wrestling Open will be on display on Nov. 11 at 9 p.m., with martial arts, boxing, weightlifting, swimming and beach volleyball events in that time slot through February.

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