What is ESPNU?
ESPNU is a sports television channel owned by the ESPN Network that covers college sports. It is usually referred to as “The U” channel and had its roots from ESPN’s Regional TV Network.
The U channel was formed to compete with an upstart channel, CSTV or CBS Sports Television. It was formally launched in March 2005 at the Oklahoma State University Campus. Its first live broadcast was a basketball game between Southeast Missouri State University and Eastern Kentucky University with the latter team winning the game. Aside from basketball, The U network also covers college athletics. To increase its presence on the web, ESPNU partnered with XOS Technologies for its online broadcasts. By August of 2006, the ESPNU website was born with features specially tailored for the college sports fan. Besides live video streaming of games and events, the website also features podcasts and clips from the ESPNU studios.
Various other college sports events are being covered by ESPNU. College football is among the most watched programs, along with basketball and baseball. But ESPNU does not only cater to mega-spectator sports, coverage is also extended to other sports like volleyball, tennis, golf, and even water polo. In fact, it also broadcasts water polo games live. The first such live coverage of a college water polo match happened in March of 2009 featuring a ladies match between Bucknell University and Princeton University.
ESPNU is continuing to grow its presence in college sports activities. In 2009, it partnered with Comcast, DirecTV, and the Dish Network to include the college sports channel to its digital cable lineup. ESPNU also produced a spin-off of SportsCenter for its college sports news reviews. This show is called SportsCenterU. By 2008, ESPNU HD or high definition channel was launched. Today, more and more college sports fans tune in to ESPNU as demonstrated by increasing viewership, especially on live events.