CBS moves into sports via cable and the Internet
Hot off the wire this AM… Viacom's CBS is buying College Sports Television Networks (CSTV) for 325 million bucks. Congratulations to Brian Bedol and his staff for a job well done. CSTV was launched in April 2003 and quickly grew its distribution to reach over 65 million homes as it simultaneously developed itself in to a well recognized brand and leader in televising collegiate sports. Bedol is not new to developing ideas into profitable television ventures. He previously co-founded what's now ESPN Classic and sold it to Disney/ABC for a substantial profit.
CBS Corp. will close the deal post-split as its first entry into cable television. This is an outstanding brand extension for CBS, pairing CSTV & its online product with CBS Sports and CBS SportsLine. Founder and CEO Brian Bedol will stay on to run CSTV and will report to Les Moonves, in his soon-to-be role as CEO of CBS Corp. "I am very excited about this acquisition, which brings a new dimension to our efforts in sports and the digital space as well. We're not only getting hugely valuable assets here, we're acquiring a superb management team that has a proven record in building lucrative sports television franchises. College athletics and the online community it generates represent one of the biggest sectors in sports television, and CSTV has made tremendous strides in capturing this market. We think it's a natural fit for our company and we're confident that, as part of CBS, it will continue to grow and compete even more aggressively," said Moonves. The deal is not just about cable, but also the Internet. Moonves claims that by adding in CSTV.com to those that CBS Sports and CBS SportsLine already have, CBS will have a "larger sports Web audience than any other online medium - - 19 million unique users" Apparently this is his first chance to take an obvious swipe at ESPN.com.