Big Sky women playing for America Ch.


OGDEN, Utah-- The Big Sky Conference has reached a deal with fledgling network The America Channel to broadcast at least 27 women's athletic events beginning in the 2007-2008 academic year, the conference says.

The contract is primarily for women's basketball but the America Channel will also show soccer, volleyball and tennis matches, the conference said.

"We're very excited to enter this agreement with the America Channel," Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton said in a statement Wednesday. "This venture will bring more national exposure to our women's sports, as well as all of institutions and student athletes."

The agreement is one of a number of deals The America Channel signed with college conferences, including the Big South Conference, Southern Conference, Big West Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, America East Conference, Patriot League, and Atlantic Sun Conference.

Under the agreements The American Channel has secured video broadcast rights to more than 200 games and matches per year. The agreements include games involving over 80 universities in about 50 markets, including most of the top 20 television markets.

The America Channel, set to launch in August, is a new programming network based in Heathrow, Fla., that, according to its Web sites, celebrates "real people, real stories, real America."

In addition to the sports broadcasts, The America Channel unveiled its new SportLife initiative on Wednesday. Specifically, The America Channel and the conferences, their student athletic advisory committees and universities, will cooperate to create video content about students, student athletes and their lifestyles.

Target viewer demographics include young women and men, and teens approaching college age.

"We're honored to have such a depth of cooperation with these leading conferences," America Channel CEO Doron Gorshein said in a statement. "We expect that viewers and advertisers will embrace it. We also believe that young people will be enriched by the programming about the aspirations, challenges and achievements of students and student athletes."

The America Channel is expected to be available on broadly distributed basic cable packages.