ESPNU is an American digital cable and satellite sports television channel that is owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company (which owns a controlling 80% stake) and the Hearst Communications (which owns the remaining 20%). The channel is primarily dedicated to coverage of college athletics, and is also used as an additional outlet for general ESPN programming. ESPNU is based alongside its sister networks at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
As of February 2015, ESPNU is available to approximately 73,594,000 pay television households (63.2% of households with at least one television set) in the United States.
|Launched||March 4, 2005|
|Owned by||ESPN Inc.|
(The Walt Disney Company (80%)
Hearst Communications (20%)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
Downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTV feed
|Website||ESPNU official website|
|AT&T U-verse||1605 |
|PlayStation Vue||Core Package|
|Sling TV||Sports Extra Package|
(US pay-TV subscribers only)
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television |
(US cable subscribers only)
|YouTube TV||Internet Protocol television|
|Hulu||Internet Protocol Television|
|PlayStation Vue||Internet Protocol Television|
|DirecTV Now||Internet Protocol Television|
The network was launched on March 4, 2005, with its first broadcast originating from the site of Gallagher-Iba Arena on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The network's first live event was a semifinal game of the Ohio Valley Conference men's basketball tournament between Southeast Missouri State University and Eastern Kentucky University. The network was launched as a response to rival College Sports Television (CSTV) (now CBS Sports Network). ESPN was also being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department on allegations of "warehousing" collegiate sporting events from certain conferences, or signing a deal with a conference for all their games, but only televising a small number and not allowing the conference to make other arrangements for television broadcasts.
ESPN and XOS Technologies entered into a partnership for college athletics websites to compete directly with CSTV's growing internet presence. On August 28, 2006, ESPNU launched a new SportsCenter spin-off focusing entirely on college sports. The program, SportsCenterU, was originally scheduled to be broadcast from ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, however ESPN instead chose to originate the show from Charlotte. Mike Hall was the program's lead anchor until August 2007, when he left for the new Big Ten Network. He was replaced by Mike Gleason and Lowell Galindo. The two are joined on-set by color commentators that vary depending on the sports season.
The same day as SportsCenterU's debut, ESPNU launched the website ESPNU.com. The site included live streaming of college sports events, a multi-media player dedicated to college sports, podcasts and ESPN Motion clips of studio programming from the ESPNU television network.
ESPNU expanded its live programming to water polo by broadcasting its first-ever water polo match between the women's teams of Princeton University and Bucknell University on March 28, 2009, from DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, New Jersey.
In addition to its collegiate sports coverage, ESPNU has simulcast ESPN Radio's midday program over its airwaves since 2008, with the exception of a brief period between 2011 and 2012. The program airing for the majority of that time was The Herd with Colin Cowherd, which has since moved to Fox Sports Radio and is simulcast on Fox Sports 1. Following Cowherd's departure and several weeks of guest hosts taking over the timeslot, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz became the permanent replacement for The Herd.
On April 26, 2017, as part of a larger series of company-wide cuts, it was announced that ESPNU's studio operations would be re-located from Charlotte to ESPN's main headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. Less than 10 employees were laid off as part of the cuts. SEC Network and ESPN Events will continue to operate out of Charlotte.
On August 8, 2017, ESPNU aired a marathon of lesser-known and unconventional non-college sports as "ESPN 8: The Ocho"—an homage to a fictitious eighth ESPN channel portrayed in the film DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, which aired events that were "almost a sport". The stunt was reprised the following year on ESPN2.
On August 31, 2017, as part of an extension of ESPN's agreements with the service, Sirius XM's channel College Sports Nation was relaunched as ESPNU Radio. The channel carries audio simulcasts of ESPN college sports studio programming, as well as other programs and event coverage.
On May 19, 2009, ESPN announced it had reached a carriage agreement with Comcast, which allows the cable provider to carry ESPNU on a widely distributed digital cable tier, instead of a less popular sports tier. ESPNU was added to most Comcast systems in time for the start of the 2009–10 college football season. This ended several years of negotiations and somewhat of a feud between Comcast and ESPN over carriage of ESPNU.
On that same date, ESPNU reached a new carriage agreement with DirecTV, which moved the channel from the satellite provider's add-on "Sports Pack" to its basic "Choice" package on July 1, 2009, swapping channels and packages with ESPN Classic. Cablevision added ESPNU to its systems on March 23, 2010.
Outside the United States, ESPNU will become available in Mexico in 2017.
On August 4, 2009 Dish Network sued ESPN for $1 million in a federal lawsuit, alleging that ESPN breached its contract by not extending the same carriage terms that the programmer provided to Comcast and DirecTV for ESPNU and ESPN Classic. The lawsuit claims ESPN violated the "Most Favored Nations" clause.
The next day, ESPN announced it would fight the lawsuit and said in a press release: "We have repeatedly advised Dish that we are in full compliance with our agreement and have offered them a distribution opportunity with respect to ESPNU and ESPN Classic consistent with the rest of the industry. We will not renegotiate settled contracts and will vigorously defend this legal action, the apparent sole purpose of which is to get a better deal."
Dish Network moved the channel from its "Classic Gold 250" package to its "Classic Bronze 100" package on September 30, 2009. However, it claimed that the move had nothing to do with the lawsuit.
ESPNU has rights to sporting events from the following collegiate athletic conferences:
The 2015 National Invitation Tournament was a single-elimination tournament of 32 NCAA Division I teams that were not selected to participate in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The annual tournament is being played on campus sites for the first three rounds, with the Final Four and Championship game being held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The tournament began on Tuesday, March 17 and ended on Thursday, April 2. On February 6, the NCAA announced the 2015 NIT will use a 30-second shot clock (same as its WNIT counterpart) and a 4-foot (1.22 m) restricted-area arc as experimental rules for the 2015 tournament. On March 4, the NCAA announced teams that are marked as the first four teams left out of the 2015 NCAA tournament field will be the top-seeded teams in the 2015 NIT.2015–16 Big 12 Conference men's basketball season
The 2015–16 Big 12 men's basketball season was the 20th season of basketball for the Big 12 Conference. Team practices began in October 2015, followed by the start of the regular season on November 13. Conference play began on January 2, 2016, and concluded on March 5. Kansas won their 12th straight Big 12 regular season championship by finishing 33–5 overall and 15–3 in conference play, two games ahead of second-place West Virginia. The 2016 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament took place from March 9–12, 2016 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Kansas won the tournament for the 10th time in school history.
Buddy Hield of Oklahoma was named Big 12 Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, and became just the third player in conference history to be named the National college player of the year.
Seven schools were awarded a birth to the NCAA Tournament. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa State each reached the Sweet 16, with Oklahoma advancing all the way to the Final four before losing to the eventual champions Villanova.ACC–Big Ten Challenge
The Big Ten-ACC Challenge (or ACC-Big Ten Challenge as it is called in alternating years) is an in-season NCAA men's college basketball series established in 1999 that matches up teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Big Ten Conference (B1G). ESPN was a key part of the creation of the challenge, and holds the broadcast rights to all the games. The Big Ten–ACC Challenge occurs early in the non-conference season, typically around late November/early December. Each game is hosted by one of the participating schools, with teams typically alternating home and away status in each successive year.
The ACC leads 12–5–3 in the series and 127–98 in games. The ACC won the first 10 consecutive challenges, while the Big Ten won five of the next seven along with two ties. The most recent challenge resulted in a 7-7 tie. In the 20 years of the event, ten of the challenges have been decided by a single game.
Nine games were scheduled for each of the first six challenges, leaving two teams from the 11-team Big Ten without an opponent. With the expansion of the ACC to 12 teams with the addition of Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech, the field was expanded to 11 games in 2006, meaning that one ACC team would not play. With Nebraska joining the Big Ten in 2011, the challenge expanded to 12 games and every member from both conferences participated. In 2013, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame joined the ACC, leaving three ACC teams excluded from the competition. In 2014, Maryland withdrew from the ACC and joined the Big Ten along with Rutgers, giving that conference 14 teams, and Louisville joined the ACC replacing Maryland and maintaining the conference's 15-team membership. The conference realignments have thus led to the challenge being expanded to 14 games.
When the challenge was expanded to 12 games, and later 14 games, the changes resulted in the possibility that the challenge could end in a tie. In the event of a tie, the previous year's winner retains the Commissioner's Cup. This scenario occurred in 2012 and 2013, with the Big Ten retaining the Cup based on its 8–4 win in 2011; the ACC retained the Cup in 2018 based on its 11-3 win in 2017.Typically, match-ups are selected for their expected interest in the game meaning higher profile teams are chosen to play each other to enhance television ratings for ESPN.
In 2007, the ACC–Big Ten Women's Challenge was founded.
The popularity of this series has led other conferences to form similar partnerships in which their members go head-to-head against each other. Examples are the Big 12/SEC Challenge and Mountain West–Missouri Valley Challenge and the now-defunct SEC–Big East Challenge and Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. The ACC–Big Ten Challenge itself followed another popular interconference challenge series involving the ACC, the ACC–Big East Challenge which took place in the 1980s and 1990s at the height of the Big East Conference.Big 12/SEC Challenge
The Big 12/SEC Challenge is an NCAA college basketball series that takes place in the middle of the season, usually late January, consisting of a series of ten games featuring members of the Big 12 Conference and Southeastern Conference.
The format is similar to the ACC–Big Ten Challenge. Each of the ten members of the Big 12 plays a game against a member of the SEC. Half of the ten games are hosted by the Big 12 team and the other half are hosted by the SEC team. Because the SEC has 14 members, four teams of the SEC (since 2015-16, the bottom four teams from the previous season's standings) are excluded from the challenge each season. Effective with the 2019–20 season, the SEC teams excluded from the Big 12/SEC Challenge will participate in the newly launched SEC/American Alliance against teams from the American Athletic Conference.Previously, the Big 12 was a part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series from 2007 to 2010, and the SEC was a part of the SEC–Big East Challenge from 2007 to 2012. The contracts for those challenges were not renewed when they expired, leaving both conferences available to establish this challenge. (The issues faced by the Big East in the 2010–13 Big East Conference realignment was a factor in the decision not to renew its series with the SEC).
Two current SEC members, Texas A&M and Missouri, are former members of the Big 12. Missouri has a rivalry with current Big 12 member Kansas leaving the possibility of renewing the rivalry which has not been played in the regular season since Missouri left for the SEC.ESPN3
ESPN3 (formerly ESPN360 and ESPN3.com) is an online streaming service owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% controlling ownership interest) and the Hearst Communications (which holds the remaining 20% interest), that provides live streams and replays of global sports events to sports fans in the United States.ESPNU College Basketball
ESPNU College Basketball is a broadcast of NCAA Division I college basketball on ESPNU.ESPNU College Football
ESPNU College Football is a broadcast of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision college football on ESPNU. ESPNU College Football debuted on August 25, 2005 with a HBCU match-up between Benedict and Morehouse.
In addition to their live game coverage, ESPNU also has three weekly programs devoted to college football, which include ESPNU Inside the Polls on Monday at 6pm ET, ESPNU Coaches Spotlight on Tuesdays at 12pm ET and ESPNU Recruiting Insider on Fridays at 7:30pm ET.ESPNU Radio
ESPNU Radio is a channel on Sirius XM Radio, and is mainly the result of a merging of Sirius Sports Central and XM Sports Nation, and a couple programming changes with sister channel Mad Dog Radio.
Sirius XM College Sports Nation has a 24 hour available channel on Sirius XM Radio on channel 91, and includes original programs Tim Brando Show, College Football Playbook, Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, College Sports Coast to Coast, and others.
On August 31, 2017, the channel was rebranded ESPNU Radio on Sirius XM, and began to simulcast some ESPNU television shows and ESPN college sports podcasts.ESPN College Basketball
ESPN College Basketball is a blanket title used for presentations of college basketball on ESPN and its family of networks. Its coverage focuses primarily on competition in NCAA Division I, holding broadcast rights to games from each major conference, and a number of mid-major conferences.
ESPN was the first broadcaster to provide extensive early-round coverage of NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, prior to CBS, later in partnership with Turner Sports, holding sole rights to "March Madness". The network also covers a number of early-season tournaments, conference championships, and is also the exclusive broadcaster of the National Invitation Tournament and the Women's Division I championship.ESPN College Football
ESPN College Football is the branding used for broadcasts of NCAA Division I FBS college football across ESPN properties, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN+, ABC, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNews and ESPN Radio. ESPN College Football debuted in 1982.
ESPN College Football consists of four to five games a week, with ESPN College Football Primetime, which airs at 7:30 on Thursdays. Saturday includes ESPN College Football Noon at 12:00 Saturday, a 3:30 or 4:30 game that is not shown on a weekly basis, and ESPN College Football Primetime on Saturday. A Sunday game, Sunday Showdown, was added for the first half of 2006 to make up for the loss of Sunday Night Football to NBC.
ESPN also produces ESPN College Football on ABC and ESPN Saturday Night Football on ABC in separate broadcast packages.
The American, ACC, Big Ten, MAC, MWC (shared with CBS Sports Network), Pac-12, SEC, and Sun Belt. ESPN began televising games for the independent Brigham Young University in 2011. Through its online arm ESPN3 and the ESPN+ streaming service, ESPN carries a wide variety of other athletic conferences and games at lower divisions, spanning the full breadth of college football.High School Showcase
High School Showcase, known under its corporate sponsored name as the GEICO High School Showcase, is a presentation of high school football and high school basketball on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Since debuting in 2005, it primarily airs on Friday at 8pm ET on ESPNU, following ESPNU Recruiting Insider, but will occasionally air at various times and days on ESPN and ESPN2. The Friday Night Showcase game is called by Jason Benetti and ESPN Recruiting Coordinator Craig Haubert. Various commentators call other games throughout the week, although Mike Hall and Tom Luginbill anchor the halftime report and in-game updates. The series was previously Old Spice Red Zone High School Showcase; the series also has previously had Honda as a presenting sponsor.
Old Spice High School Showcase debuted in 2005 as a way to fill programming on the then-nascent ESPNU channel, which had debuted in March 2005. The series aired only four games in 2005, but after much success ESPN expanded its schedule to a full thirteen game season. Part of what lead ESPN to expanding its schedule is, in 2005, ESPN aired the highest rated high school football game in television history. Nease High School (Florida) vs. Hoover High School (Alabama) garnered a 1.0 rating and attracted nearly one million households.
Most High School Showcase games span from late August through the end of October. Only once has the showcase aired a Thanksgiving game, the 2006 matchup between Lehigh Valley rivals Easton, PA and Phillipsburg, NJ; ESPNU has switched to coverage of college basketball in November, limiting the channel's opportunities to cover high school contests.
Old Spice High School Showcase started to air high school basketball games in 2006, as well.
Games in the High School Showcase are also broadcast on ESPN3.Joe Beninati
Joseph Edward Beninati (born November 14, 1965 in Long Island, New York) is the television play-by-play announcer for the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals. Along with color analyst Craig Laughlin, he provides Capitals game coverage for NBC Sports Washington. Beninati has been with the Washington Capitals since 1994. During his years in broadcasting, he's done freelance announcing for ESPN, ESPNU, Westwood One, WFAN and was one of the prominent hockey voices on Versus (formerly OLN now NBCSN.) Throughout his career, Beninati's been awarded DC area Sportscaster of the year, along with claiming 12 Capital Emmy Awards. Occasionally he's heard as the play-by-play voice of Men and Women's Lacrosse on ESPNU and The Big Ten Network; along with the Chesapeake Bayhawks of the MLL on NBC Sports Washington. Before his time with NBC Sports and the Capitals, he covered the AHL system of the Boston Bruins for both the Maine Mariners and the Providence Bruins.John Congemi
John Congemi is a former Canadian Football League quarterback and current college football analyst for ESPNU and the Big East Network.
Congemi played quarterback for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team during 1982–1986. He finished second all time in passing yards and led his team to the 1984 Fiesta Bowl. He won the game's MVP award, despite losing the game 28–23.After college Congemi played in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders, Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 1993, he also played part of the 1993 season with the Miami Hooters of the Arena Football League. After the stint, he went back to the CFL to play for the Baltimore Stallions in 1994.
After retiring, Congemi returned to his native Florida, where he worked as a football analyst for SportsChannel Florida and WQAM. Congemi served as a color commentator for the Big East Network from 2000 to 2011. He has been calling ESPNU games since the network began in 2005.List of ESPNU personalities
This is a list of several past and present personalities on the ESPNU network.List of ESPN College Football broadcast teams
The ESPN College Football Broadcast Teams are listed in the table below, including games broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, and ESPN Radio.
Note: All ESPN games are also simulcast on WatchESPN.
Broadcast pairings for college football are weekly and are subject to change.List of ESPN personalities
Present television personalities on the ESPN network.List of ESPNews personalities
This is a list of several past and present personalities on the ESPNews network. (NOTE: All of the current ESPNews anchors listed below are now SportsCenter anchors as of June 2013.)Myrtle Beach Invitational
The Myrtle Beach Invitational is preseason college basketball tournament owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television that takes place in late November of each year, usually the week before Thanksgiving.
The tournament will have its inaugural run in 2018.WatchESPN
WatchESPN (formerly ESPN Networks) is an Internet television website and mobile application operated by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% controlling ownership interest) and the Hearst Communications (which holds the remaining 20% interest).
The service provides streaming simulcasts of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater for select cable television subscribers in the United States; it is also the exclusive platform for broadcasts from ESPN3, which until 2011, had operated as a separate website with a similar functionality to WatchESPN. The service is only available to subscribers of participating cable, IPTV and satellite television providers, and is not offered as a standalone internet-only subscription service available to those who do not have a pay television subscription.
Since the launch of ESPN+ in 2018, ESPN has increasingly preferred paywalling new content acquisitions on the service instead of ESPN3 and WatchESPN.