June 10, 2003
CSTV to Air Game of the Week

By Nate Ewell

College hockey fans will have one of their long-time wishes fulfilled this fall when a national television network delivers a college hockey game of the week package live every Friday.

College Sports Television (CSTV), a new network that debuted in April, announced its plans for the game of the week package this week when it revealed plans for its fall lineup. The network will showcase 20 to 25 games over the course of the season, featuring each of the six Division I conferences.

The new network may not be ESPN – it's more like the CHA to the worldwide leader's Hockey East – but it will still provide more coverage than fans have received in the past. In addition to the game of the week, network executives plan to develop a weekly college hockey magazine-style show.

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CSTV can be seen on DirecTV at Channel 610. Dish Network, another favorite of college hockey fans, has not indicated any plans to add CSTV to its lineup. CSTV's availability on cable is extremely limited, although it hopes to expand its reach thanks to the growth of digital cable.

The game of the week came about thanks to the cooperation of CSTV and the Ice Hockey Collegiate Commissioners' Association (IHCCA), which consists of the commissioners from each of the six Division I conferences.

"(Getting a nationally televised game of the week) was one of our goals when we established the group," said Tom Anastos, commissioner of the CCHA and president of the IHCCA. "Our primary objective was to raise the awareness of the game. Obviously the timing of a college sports television network is something we didn't have any part in, but we're trying to do our part."

The efforts of some of the commissioners demonstrate that they expect good things from CSTV. Hockey East had to revisit its agreement with Fox Sports New England, which included an exclusivity clause, and the WCHA had to develop a structure for the league to represent its schools with regards to television rights.

Anastos indicated that the original plan called for a Thursday night game of the week, to allow fans headed to other games on Friday night to see the nationally televised contest. That plan was scrapped, however, since the NHL's agreement with ESPN calls for a nationally televised game each Thursday. The college game moved to Friday to avoid competition with another hockey game.

The detailed schedule of which games will appear on the game of the week, to be determined by CSTV, will be released at a later date.

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