Tennis and Ski Channel Founder Steve Bellamy Launching Surf-Themed Network (Video)
Steve Bellamy, who founded the Tennis Channel and the Ski Channel, is now setting his sights a third sports-themed network.
The executive is set to announce Friday that he is launching the Surf Channel -- which will feature programming focusing on beach, water and board sports -- in mid-September.
The network will be a free-to-consumer, VOD network available on cable, satellite, telco and digital. Bellamy has already secured distribution partnerships with Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network and Filmon.com that will make it available to 20 million U.S. households at launch.
The Surf Channel also has signed a preferred partnership deal with YouTube for the surf category and will build a separate slate of content for that platform.
"Surf, its lifestyle and environment create an unparalleled canvas for a television network," Bellamy said. "The Surf Channel will be a sports channel, travel channel and lifestyle channel all in one. Viewers will go on the most expensive vacation of their lives to the most remote and exotic destinations the planet has to offer. They will get to see some of the most incredible athletes pushing the human spirit and the boundaries of human capability to its furthest limits."
He added that the Pacific Palisades-based Surf Channel will benefit from its location.
"The nexus of surf is in Southern California, and we are smack dab in the middle of it," he said.
The network will launch with an airing of The Endless Summer, Bruce Brown's classic 1966 documentary.
"The Surf Channel is going to be one of the best things to ever happen to our industry," Brown said. "Giving tens of millions of people living room access to the sport and culture of surfing is something we have never had before."
Bellamy said the network also will include original content, including half-hour series and shortform programming, along with acquired movies and other "unique" content. The full programming lineup, as well as additional distribution partnerships, are expected to be announced shortly.
The Surf Channel and its sister network the Ski Channel will share all basic back-office functions but will be separate in branding and editorial.