Urban Edge Network, Roland Martin’s Black Star Network signs largest media rights deal in NAIA history with Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

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Streaming service to carry live GCAC contests and conference championships

NEW ORLEANS – The Urban Edge Network, home to some of the most high-profile Historically Black College and University teams and conferences has inked the largest media rights deal in NAIA history with the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) to be the official streaming arm of the league and its member institutions through HBCU League Pass+ in an announcement made by the two organizations Wednesday at Maroon Workspace in New Orleans.

The deal signed between the two organizations is in the seven-figure range and is for five years. In addition, Roland Martin, CEO of Black Star Network, will provide social media amplification of the GCAC, as well as broadcast support to UEN and conference schools.

Delivering sporting events from HBCUs 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the GCAC will now have select games and conference championships televised live on the platform beginning in the 2022-23 athletic season.

“This is a historic moment for the GCAC,” GCAC Commissioner Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes said. “This is a new era for the league and our institutions, partnering with this incredible team who is providing a platform for HBCU’s everywhere to thrive.”

As the gold standard for HBCU sports, HBCU League Pass+ showcases live men’s and women’s sporting events (football, basketball, baseball, tennis, swimming, golf, and track and field), TV shows, marching band competitions, eSports tournaments, podcasts, and more.

“Urban Edge Network is excited about this landmark partnership with the GCAC. The significance of this relationship will be measured by our impact on the communities that these important institutions reside in. We are creating direct monetization impact on students, athletes, and cities by amplifying the capabilities of each institution within the conference.” said Todd F. Brown, CEO of Urban Edge Network. “It is our goal to create cultural value by extending our innovative NILs program which will have an immediate impact on these scholar-athletes.”

As the exclusive home of GCAC sports, HBCU League Pass+ will have a dedicated landing page for the conference where games will be aired, along with areas for the broadcast of league championships, which will be announced at a later date.

“Gil Scott Heron once said the revolution will not be televised. But it will be streamed. Today’s media landscape allows Black-owned media companies to be able to leverage technology and provide unparalleled coverage and access nationally and internationally to HBCUs,” said Roland S. Martin, CEO of Black Star Network.

“Our desire isn’t just to leverage the GCAC sporting events, but to introduce to many the amazing work of the faculties at these schools and their student bodies.”

About the GCAC
The GCAC is celebrating its 40th year as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The GCAC is one of only five conferences comprised of members representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. The GCAC membership includes Dillard University (LA), Fisk University (TN), Oakwood University (AL), Philander Smith College (AR), Rust College (MS), Southern University at New Orleans (LA), Tougaloo College (MS), and Wiley College (TX).

About Black Star Network
Black Star Network is a full-service OTT service that produces and distributes Roland S. Martin’s daily digital show, #RolandMartinUnfiltered, the first daily online show in history focused on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports, and culture from an explicitly African American perspective. In addition, it has six other daily and weekly shows; as well as coordinating and producing live streaming events.

The company is led by Roland S. Martin, an award-winning journalist who has worked for news outlets including CNN, TV One, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Essence Magazine and a host of others. He has been named four times by Ebony Magazine as one of the 150 Most Influential African Americans in the United States and is a four-time NAACP Image Award winner.

About Urban Edge Network and HBCU League Pass+
Urban Edge Network (UEN) is a Black-owned media company focused on publishing and distributing content from Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and their extended communities, including sporting events, student activities, and Black-owned media and entertainment programming. The mission of UEN is to help brands connect authentically with the diverse audiences served by HBCU content and culture while providing the institutions with monetization opportunities. HBCU League Pass+, a subsidiary of Urban Edge Network, is an ad-supported Black College Sports Network, delivering 24/7 access to live and on-demand content from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As a Microsoft Startup partner, HBCU League Pass+ is a must-have, free streaming service for all HBCU college sports fans. Its goal is to bring advertising dollars,NIL, and streaming video enabled by AdTech to HBCU communities, students, and alumni. Download HBCU League Pass+ now on all major streaming platforms and iOS and Android supported devices. Learn more at https://www.hbculeaguepassplus.com/HBCULP/.

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