CSTV and MWC To Launch Mountain West TV
Sept. 13, 2004
NEW YORK, September 13, 2004 - CSTV: College Sports Television (www.collegesports.com) and the Mountain West Conference (www.TheMWC.com) are deepening their recently announced fully integrated multi-media partnership by launching Mountain West TV, the first-ever regional sports network dedicated solely to an intercollegiate athletic conference, in 2006.
David W. Checketts, who was instrumental in CSTV's negotiations with the MWC, will become co-chairman of CSTV with Stephen Greenberg, and will oversee Mountain West TV. CSTV is also purchasing Checketts' Salt Lake City-based SportsWest Communications, a syndicated broadcaster of college sports.
In addition, Soros Private Equity has committed in principle to invest $25 million in CSTV. Soros Private Equity is the private equity arm of Soros Fund Management LLC, a global investment management organization. Checketts will invest in CSTV alongside Soros Private Equity.
"This is an historic occasion for CSTV, as we continue expanding upon our efforts to connect college sports fans with college sports," said Brian Bedol, president and CEO, CSTV. "The Mountain West Conference, featuring some of the finest student-athletes, will receive unprecedented exposure through its own regional network. With CSTV's wealth of production and promotional resources, Mountain West TV will deliver more Mountain West games across more sports to more fans than ever before."
"The creation of a Mountain West-branded regional network may be the single-most exciting component that we negotiated into our CSTV agreement," said Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West Conference. "This meets our objective of a dedicated, daily vehicle for building the MWC brand. Games and events that historically have gone untelevised will now receive unprecedented exposure. This is a major piece of the strategic vision we described when we announced our CSTV partnership three weeks ago."
In addition to the unparalleled national television coverage the Mountain West will receive via College Sports TV, Mountain West TV will provide exclusive live telecasts of as many as 40 Mountain West Conference football games and up to 120 men's and women's basketball games a year. The groundbreaking venture will ensure television exposure for nearly every MWC football and men's basketball contest, and reconfirm the commitment to coverage of women's intercollegiate athletics.
The landmark CSTV-Mountain West Conference partnership announced last month officially begins in the fall of 2006. It incorporates all conference-related media and marketing rights, including all television, national over-the-air and satellite radio, video-on-demand, online, broadband and exclusive corporate sponsorship rights. The agreement represents the first NCAA Division I-A football and Division I men's basketball conference-wide deal for CSTV.
"CSTV has laid the foundation for a revolutionary concept for covering and promoting college sports," said Checketts. "CSTV has exceeded all expectations since launching a little over one year ago and the creation of Mountain West TV, coming on the heels of last month's CSTV-Mountain West announcement, is a logical next step as it grows its business as the already established leader in college sports."
"We are pleased that Dave Checketts is joining forces with CSTV and Mountain West TV," said Cecil Samuelson, president of Brigham Young University and chairman of the MWC board of directors. "Dave's credentials and passion for the MWC region make him the perfect individual to lead this type of venture and we look forward to working with him on maximizing this opportunity."
Mountain West TV will televise live regular-season coverage and championships of the 35 men's and women's sports sponsored by Mountain West institutions. Mountain West TV will also produce and air exclusive studio and original programming, including regularly-scheduled news and highlight shows, archival footage and educational features, providing unsurpassed coverage of Mountain West Conference teams and student-athletes.
In another first, Mountain West TV will introduce innovative daytime educational programming consistent with the MWC's priority of providing valuable resources to its member institutions' commitment to fulfilling their educational missions. The programming elements, including continuing education classes, lectures, concerts, theatrical productions and cultural and fine arts initiatives from all nine MWC institutions, positions Mountain West TV as not just a new type of sports network, but a network solely dedicated to capturing the full collegiate experience.
The new network will have a studio presence located in the Mountain West Conference region, combined with the state of the art production, programming, and technology assets available at the CSTV studios in New York. Mountain West TV will utilize the latest technology to distribute programming via video-on-demand and broadband to its affiliate partners.
SportsWest Communications owns sports rights to 24 universities in the western United States, including six Mountain West Conference institutions, and produces and syndicates college football and basketball games on over-the-air and cable affiliates in fifteen states with a potential of 37 million viewers. SportsWest receives support through sponsorship commitments that include Delta Air Lines, Dodge, XBOX, Lincoln Mercury, Pontiac, Lexus, Napa and many others. SportsWest also owns rights to arena and stadium signage and merchandising at select universities.
The Soros Private Equity investment comes one month after CSTV announced that it had secured $37 million in investments from JPMorgan Partners, the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., The New York City Investment Fund and several existing CSTV investors.
CSTV is a multi-media company that consists of the first-ever 24-hour college sports television network, College Sports TV; the leading college sports online network, CollegeSports.com; and the first ever 24-hour college sports radio network, SIRIUS College Sports Radio. Through its numerous platforms, CSTV provides more live college sports games, events, news, information, analysis and broadband content, and reaches more college sports fans, than any other company.
College Sports TV, voted the #1 emerging cable network in the 2003 Beta research study, televises regular season and championship event coverage from over 35 men's and women's sports across every major collegiate athletic conference as well as many select NCAA Championships. College Sports TV currently has agreements with the top three national distributors - Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, among others.
CollegeSports.com, the most-trafficked college sports Web site, and its network of nearly 160 official athletic sites are the number one online source for college sports broadband content, news, information, scores and analysis. SIRIUS College Sports Radio will broadcast a comprehensive package of college football and basketball games from teams in the Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac 10, and SEC conferences, as well as from Notre Dame.
CSTV was co-founded by President and CEO Brian Bedol, Chairman Steve Greenberg and Executive Vice President Chris Bevilacqua. Bedol and Greenberg co-founded Classic Sports Network, which they sold to ESPN. It is now ESPN Classic. Bevilacqua is a former senior executive with Nike Inc., where he headed the company's successful foray into the college market.
About The Mountain West Conference
The Mountain West Conference is one of the top collegiate conferences in the college sports arena and is compromised of eight Division I-A institutions including, The United States Air Force Academy, Brigham Young University, Colorado State University, University of New Mexico, University of Nevada - Las Vegas, San Diego State University, University of Utah, University of Wyoming. Beginning July 1, 2005, Texas Christian University will become the ninth member of the MWC.