With six days to launch and counting, digital channel College Sports
Television has DirecTV Inc. on board as its first distributor.
Customers of DirecTV's "Sports Pack" will get CSTV when it premieres April 7
around 11:30 p.m. EST, after CBS completes its coverage of the NCAA Men's
DirecTV has about 11 million direct-broadcast satellite subscribers, but it
does not disclose counts for its individual channel tiers.
Other terms of the multiyear agreement were not released.
It's unlikely at this point that any cable-system owners will have a deal
struck in time for CSTV's late-night opening, president and CEO Brian Bedol
acknowledged in a media conference call Tuesday afternoon.
Negotiations are at a late stage with all of the major operators, he said,
and some agreements will happen before the end of the month.
"These are long-term deals we want to reach, and it takes time to get the
exact terms right," Bedol said. "The response has been very strong, in part
because we've positioned this channel as distributor-friendly over pricing and
CSTV is going for seven- to 10-year MSO deals.
Negotiations are also ongoing with DirecTV's DBS competitor, EchoStar
Life at CSTV will begin with a review of the college-basketball season,
complete with outstanding male and female player awards.
From there, the schedule will consist of live events involving 30 college
conferences and more than 300 schools; college-sports highlights and profile
shows; and great games from college archives. Live events will make up
approximately one-half of the network's schedule.
Event coverage over the first few months will spotlight baseball, soccer,
softball, rugby and volleyball. A portion of the schedule will be taken up by
week-in-review series covering individual sports or conferences.
Notre Dame University became the latest higher-learning location to align
with CSN. The university will provide access to various events and archive
footage under a new multiyear agreement.
The channel's first advertising agreements are expected to be detailed next
week, Bedol said.
Also, CSTV is exploring a number of high-definition television opportunities,
as well as video-on-demand.
"Over time, we want to be a multitiered distribution platform," Bedol added,
"but we want to do it in such a way that's beneficial to both our cable and DBS