CBS Buys CSTV for $325M

CBS has bought CSTV Networks for $325 million, marking the broadcast network’s first foray into the cable college sports arena. The deal is expected to close in January 2006, after governmental approvals and the Viacom split are completed.

CSTV is a digital cable network that exclusively covers college athletics. Serving about 15 million subscribers, CSTV features 30 men’s and women’s college sports events. It also operates 250 official web sites for colleges and their teams.

Leslie Moonves, chairman of CBS and co-president and co-COO of Viacom, called CSTV “a natural fit” for CBS. “We’re not only getting hugely valuable assets here, we’re acquiring a superb management team that has a proven record in building lucrative sports television franchises,” Moonves said in a statement.

CSTV Founder and CEO Brian Bedol will continue to operate the entity, reporting to Moonves. Bedol said joining forces with CBS will help consumers “transition from the mass media of CBS Sports to the personalized media of the Web, and many points in between.”

Moonves noted that the new collegiate sports business would work closely with CBS Sports and CBS Digital Media and be integrated into CBS activities.