The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA) announced Tuesday that it has finalized a 10-year partnership to broadcast games on television through HBCU GO.
The partnership grants HBCU GO coverage rights — cable, streaming, broadcast, video on demand, and pay-per-view — for all CIAA team sports through June 2032.
HBCU GO, a free streaming service launched in 2012, is owned by Allen Media Group (AMG), a Black-owned media company based in Los Angeles. AMG owns 27 ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliate stations in 21 U.S. markets and twelve 24-hour networks that serve nearly 300 million subscribers.
The streaming service will be connected to TheGrio Television Network, a Black community-focused news outlet available on Charter/Spectrum, Comcast Xfinity, and other broadcast options, where games will also air.
The partnership will begin with HBCU GO’s broadcast of five CIAA football games televised live on TheGrio channel, including the 2023 CIAA Football Championship.
The long-term goal is to broadcast all CIAA team sports on the app as well as all of Allen Media Group’s platforms.
In a statement, CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams-Parker said the opportunity to broadcast CIAA games was “ well-deserved and long overdue.”
“This media deal with AMG is a game changer for the CIAA and unprecedented in Division II. We will expand the CIAA Sports Network platform through HBCU GO to give greater exposure for our 13 member schools and their student-athletes,” she said in a statement.
Byron Allen said the collaboration was a “natural fit.”
“We’re proud to celebrate our 10-year partnership with the CIAA to amplify all of their team sports to our audiences,” he said in a statement.
The impact of exposure
Clyde Doughty Jr., athletic director at Bowie State University, said the broadcast partnership puts the CIAA in the “same space” of exposure that larger, Division l schools receive.
“It’s really unprecedented for a Division II conference to have this type of relationship and partnership,” he told QCity Metro.
HBCU GO will provide funding and resources for CIAA schools to broadcast games.
“We’re able to now tell our own story and don’t have somebody else tell it for us,” Doughty said.
Johnson C. Smith University’s athletic director, Oralia Washington, said the partnership will be a great asset to highlight HBCU sports, which often don’t get recognized.
“This is great not only for regional coverage but as well as national,” Washington told QCity Metro.
Virginia State graduate transfer running back Rayquan Smith currently has 86 name, image and likeness (NIL) deals.
Smith, nicknamed the ‘King of NIL,’ said exposure provided by the platform can help other athletes secure deals.
He said the partnership with AMG will give other athletes recognition that would create more opportunities to “monetize” and “capitalize” on their athletic contributions.
“We have great talent at the CIAA level [and] I can’t wait for people to see it,” he added.