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ESPN U.svg
Launched March 4, 2005
Owned by ESPN Inc.
(The Walt Disney Company 80%/Hearst Corporation 20%)
Picture format 720p (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
Slogan Never Graduate
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters Charlotte, North Carolina
Sister channel(s) ESPN
ESPN Classic
Website ESPNU official website
DirecTV 208 (HD/SD)
1208 (VOD)
Dish Network 141 (HD/SD)
Available on select cable systems Check local listings for channels
Verizon FiOS 573 (HD)
73 (SD)
AT&T U-Verse 1605 (HD)
605 (SD)
Streaming media
WatchESPN Watch live
Sling TV Internet Protocol television(US cable subscribers only)

ESPNU is an American digital cable and satellite sports television channel that is owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between the Disney–ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company (which owns a controlling 80% stake) and the Hearst Corporation (which owns the remaining 20%). It is a sister network to ESPN that is dedicated to coverage of college athletics. ESPNU is based alongside ESPN Plus at its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As of February 2015, approximately 73,594,000 American households (63.2% of households with television) receive ESPNU.[1]


The network was launched on March 4, 2005, 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 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 signed 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 dealing entirely with college sports. That show, called SportsCenterU, was originally scheduled to be broadcast from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, but ESPN instead chose to originate the show from Charlotte. Mike Hall was the show'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 The site included live streaming college sports events, 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.


On May 19, 2009, ESPN announced it had reached a deal with Comcast to carry the channel on the cable provider. The deal allows Comcast to carry ESPNU on a widely distributed digital cable tier, instead of a less popular sports tier.[2] ESPNU was rolled out on most Comcast systems in time for the start of the 2009–2010 college football season. This ended several years of negotiations and somewhat of a feud between Comcast and ESPN over carriage of ESPNU.

Also on May 19, 2009, ESPNU reached a new carriage agreement with DirecTV. The channel was moved 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.[3] Cablevision added ESPNU on March 23, 2010.[4]

Dish Network lawsuit[edit]

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.[5]

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."[6]

Dish Network moved the channel from its "Classic Gold 250" package to its "Classic Bronze 100" package on September 30, 2009. However it claims that it has nothing to do with the lawsuit.[7]

High definition[edit]

The 720p high definition simulcast of ESPNU launched on August 28, 2008, to coincide with the start of the college football season.[8] The service debuted with the football game between Vanderbilt and Miami University. Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, Blue Ridge Communications, Atlantic Broadband and Broadstripe carried the HD channel at its launch.[9] In late 2008, the HD feed was added by AT&T U-Verse. Bright House Networks began adding the HD channel on a regional basis on November 7, 2009.[10] Cablevision added the HD feed on March 23, 2010.[4] DirecTV added the HD channel on May 19, 2010. Dish Network added the HD channel on March 18, 2014.

Coverage rights[edit]

See also: ESPN College Football, College Basketball on ESPN, List of ESPN sports properties.

ESPNU has rights to games of the following conferences:

ESPN and independent Brigham Young University recently announced a deal where at least one BYU football game per year will be broadcast on ESPNU.[citation needed]




Live sports programs[edit]

  • ESPNU College Baseball (2005–present)
  • ESPNU College Basketball (2005–present)
  • ESPNU College Football (2005–present)
  • ESPNU College Hockey (2005–present)
  • ESPNU College Lacrosse (2005–present)
  • ESPNU College Soccer (2005–present)
  • ESPNU College Softball (2005–present)
  • ESPNU College Volleyball (2005–present)
  • High School Showcase (2005–present)

Original series[edit]

  • Faces of Sports (2005–present)
  • Honor Roll (2005–present)


See also[edit]


External links[edit]