Big news today from Time Warner and Walt Disney Co.: They announced a corporate agreement for Time Warner systems to carry ESPN and Disney networks' products and services -- including ESPNU.
When? Hopefully before the college football season, and the next Crosstown Shooutout.
"We'll launch ESPNU later this year. We'll get it on as soon as we can," says Karen Baxter, local spokeswoman for Time Warner, Greater Cincinnati's biggest cable operator.
Time Warner subscribers last December couldn't watch the city's biggest game -- the annual UC-Xavier basketball rivalry --because Time Warner didn't have rights to ESPNU, a college sports network. The shootout had been on ESPN or ESPNU since the 1998-99 season.
Since debuting two years ago, ESPNU has televised several UC, Xavier, Kentucky and Miami University basketball games, and some UC and Miami football games. The channel has been available to Insight cable customers in N KY and on the Lebanon city system.
The joint announcement says Time Warner also will launch ESPN2 later this year, and HDTV channels for ABC Family, Disney Channel and ESPNEWS when they become available in 2008.
"We just got word of this news this morning. We're still working the details out locally," Baxter says.
Time Warner also just announced today that it will launch Universal HD channel at 4 p.m. Thursday, to carry first two days of the Masters gof tournament. Find it on the HD tier in Cincinnati on Channel 972, and in Dayton on Channel 761.
So when will TWC get a deal done with FSN Ohio for the Reds in HDTV? The second of the 33 FSNO HD games is the Reds-Cubs at 7 p.m. today.