ESPNU to launch on '03-04-05'

ESPNU, a multi-media college sports initiative including a new 24-hour television network, will launch on Friday, March 4, 2005, it was announced by Burke Magnus, ESPNU Vice President and General Manager.

The "03-04-05" launch date will help tip off the next day's start of Championship Week, ESPN and ESPN2's annual franchise featuring comprehensive coverage of men's and women's college basketball conference tournaments. ESPNU's first week of programming will include approximately 25 additional live conference tournament games (not currently on ESPN or ESPN2).

"March is a memorable time for college sports fans," Magnus said. "Given that, the start of Championship Week and the added bonus of the easy-to-remember '03-04-05' date, the launch timing is ideal. ESPNU will become a destination for the rich passion and pageantry of intercollegiate athletics."

The specific ESPNU television schedule, including the debut program, will be announced on a later date. Event programming will be the cornerstone, highlighted by approximately 300 live events (regular season and NCAA Championships) in the network's first year. Action will include a variety of top Division I football and men's and women's basketball mixed with baseball, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling and more. ESPNU will also offer comprehensive studio programming, replays of ABC Sports, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Regional Television games, plus specials and more.

In addition to the TV network, ESPNU content and components will be featured across ESPN's family of services, such as ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Mobile (wireless), ESPN Radio, ESPN Interactive, ESPN Broadband, merchandising and more. Additional detail will be released in the coming weeks.

Cross-promotion for ESPNU, supporting television and other media, will extend across all entities.

ESPN Regional Television
ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, Inc., will handle the primary production responsibilities for the ESPNU television network out of its Charlotte, N.C. headquarters. ERT is the nation's largest syndicator of college sports programming with more than 740 events produced each year, accounting for more than 2,000 live and/or original hours.