The first 24-hour sports, “edutainment” and lifestyle network dedicated to historically black colleges and universities is on the horizon.
C3 Media, LLC, the holding company that owns and operates the network, announced Tuesday at a news conference in New York that the HBCU Network will launch in 2011.
The network, based in Atlanta, is designed to fill a void in the cable industry, which has, for years, underserved the black community. The channel will be the official destination of the four major HBCU Conferences — the MEAC, SWAC, SIAC and CIAA – and will feature Division I and Division II black college sports events as the centerpiece of its programming.
The network will also offer a full complement of education and entertainment – “edutainment” – as well as lifestyle programming, some of which will be produced by HBCUs.
“Sports programming will be the anchor,” HBCU Network CEO Curtis Symonds says. “We’ll do about 28 percent sports. The majority of it will be live sports. We’ll also do lifestyle and entertainment-type programming. But what’s going to be the selling point is certainly black college sports.”
Symonds has an extensive background in the cable industry, largely in marketing and sales. He was executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing for BET Holdings, Inc. from 1988 to 2001. Before that, he spent five years in ESPN’s Chicago office. He began as ESPN’s local advertising sales consultant and within a year was promoted to director of affiliate marketing for the mid-west. In addition, Symonds was COO of the Washington Mystics WNBA Basketball franchise.
Symonds is a product of an HBCU, having graduated from Central State University in Ohio.
He says that during his years at BET and ESPN, he saw an acute lack of exposure for HBCUs. At that time, BET was the only network that regularly broadcast black college football and basketball games.
The situation hasn’t improved a great deal. ESPN airs a limited number MEAC and SWAC football games live as part of its Thursday college football programming and a handful of tape-delayed contests late night on Saturday.
“When we (BET) took it off in 1995, ’96, there just was no vehicle,” he says. “ESPN … their heart is not in it. This channel, we’re putting our hearts into this. We believe it’s time we started educating youngsters about the 123 years of history in HBCUs.”
The network is negotiating a programming alliance ESPN, which has exclusive rights to black college conference games, and TV One for lifestyle programming. The HBCU Net will have its choice of games after ESPN selects the contests it will televise.
Symonds says the network will air three games lives each Saturday, one in the early time slot, one in the afternoon time slot and another at night. It also will televise ESPN’s Thursday night game, tape-delayed, later in the week, in addition to replaying its own telecasts.
Its sports programming will also include basketball and track and field.
Additionally, the new channel will provide a 20-percent equity position to the HBCUs by creating an investment fund that will be managed by a third party.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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