College sports initiative to launch in March 2005

Updated: September 7, 2004, 2:25 PM ET
Associated Press

ESPN will launch a new multimedia college sports initiative in March 2005 that includes a new 24-hour television network and content from and ESPN The Magazine.

ESPNU will also include information from ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile (wireless) and ESPN Broadband, George Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN and ABC Sports, said in making the announcement Tuesday.

Tuesday was also the 25th anniversary of the launch of ESPN.

"The college sports fan and ESPN have built a passionate bond that's 25 years strong," Bodenheimer said. "ESPNU will offer a broad variety of ESPN-branded college product across all of our entities, which will enhance our relationship with fans and colleges, and provide value to our affiliates and advertisers."

The highest-profile facet of the new initiative will be the ESPNU television network, which will carry approximately 300 games live -- primarily Division I football and men's and women's basketball -- in the first year. The network will also cover baseball, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, spring football and select high school football games.

It will also carry regular-season and NCAA championships, along with replays of games on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC and the company's regional networks.

Also Tuesday, ESPN announced that ESPN2 HD, the company's second high-definition service, will launch in January.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press