ESPN to premier HBCU Sports Network

ESPN has entered into a programming agreement with a new cable network geared toward historically black colleges and universities, said Curtis Symonds, the chief executive of the venture. The HBCU Network plans to begin carrying live sporting events from predominantly black colleges in August 2011, Symonds said. premier

In addition to sports, the HBCU Network will broadcast entertainment, culture and lifestyle programming, Symonds said. The universities will own 20 percent of the equity in the network, he said.

The partnership is likely to be announced later this week, Symonds said. He said distribution agreements were being negotiated with at least two cable companies, which he declined to name. He said he expected the HBCU network to be available in about 10 million homes when it started

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