February 7, 2003
Postcard: I want my CSTV

The idea of a televised national college hockey game of the week has always had a chorus of support in the sport’s community, as loud and clear as a great anthem singer.

Finally, there’s somebody willing to listen.

“Among the early phone calls and emails we’ve received over the last eight months, we’ve gotten the most interest, by some margin, in hockey,” said Chris Bevilacqua, co-founder and executive vice president of College Sports Television, a much-anticipated network set to debut in the next three months.

Thanks in no small part to that support, Bevilacqua and his colleagues envision college hockey coverage that goes beyond just a game of the week. He’s thinking of a national magazine show, on-site reporters at events like the Frozen Four, and in-depth, Olympic-style profiles of the players and coaches.

That’s typical of the grand planning that has gone into CSTV, which includes a street-level broadcast center in Manhattan and agreements with 27 college athletic conference, including the CCHA.

The six college hockey commissioners aren’t among those who have signed a deal for CSTV, however, which leads to the first of several legitimate questions. Will that deal happen? And if it does, where can we find CSTV?

Bevilacqua’s not concerned.

“I have spent a lot of time with the six commissioners who represent the teams across the country, and as you might imagine there’s widespread support for additional coverage,” he said. “They all want that to happen – why wouldn’t they? The only league that we’ve put together a long-term package with is the CCHA, but we’ve spent a fair amount of time discussing possibilities as a group. We’re talking about creating a consistent, national, best-of-the-best package that would cover the entire 25 weeks of the season.”

Bevilacqua hopes for a magazine show to work in tandem with the game of the week package, and says that the network would cover the Frozen Four as a news event, even though ESPN has the rights to the games. That would follow the lead of the Golf Channel, which, Bevilacqua says, enjoys its highest ratings during the Masters even though CBS covers the tournament.

As for finding the programming on your dial – or satellite – CSTV hopes to gain support during a six-week “Countdown to CSTV” leading up to its official launch on April 7. The network will offer free access to its signal to cable and satellite providers for select events during that time, with the hope that viewers like what they see and ask their providers to sign up for the network in April.

There are no college hockey broadcasts currently planned for that six-week period, but adding a few might prove helpful in persuading cable and satellite companies. The network has already heard first-hand the voice of college hockey fans, and they want more coverage.

– Nate Ewell

About Us | Advertiser Info | Site Map | Privacy Policy
© 2003 Inside College Hockey, Inc., All Rights Reserved