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ESPN to Launch College Net

ESPN plans to launch a new 24-hour college-sports network, the network said Tuesday.

ESPNU will debut in 2005. The new channel will also content from throughout the all-sports network empire, including, ESPN Radio and ESPN: The Magazine.

During its first year, ESPNU plans to carry about 300 live events, primarily Division I football and men’s and women’s basketball. Coverage will include regular season and NCAA tournament games.

Other ESPNU programming highlights:

  • Baseball, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling and some high school sports. The channel will also include replayed content from ABC Sports, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Regional Television (ERT).
  • NCAA Championships: In its first year, ESPNU will supplement ESPN and ESPN2's extensive NCAA Championships coverage with games from select rounds of various Men's and Women's NCAA Championship events, including many of the collegiate Olympic sports.
  • Studio programming ranging from pre- and post-game shows for the majority of live events to weekly programs analyzing the polls (including the BCS) to stand-alone programs previewing National Signing Days and NCAA Championships.
  • Specials including movies, The Season documentaries, and College SportsCentury profile series and "classic" games.

ESPNU joins an increasingly crowded college sports cable market.

CSTV has carriage deals with Comcast Corp, Time Warner, Adelphia and DirecTV and smaller MSOs. Fox Sports recently debuted Fox College Sports, a trio of regional college sports networks offered on digital sports tiers.

The networks were formerly Fox Sports Digital Networks, diginets that collected programming from Fox’s regional sports channels.