The network is now available in 12 additional markets, mostly in the southeastern U.S., including Jacksonville and Tampa-St. Petersburg in Florida. It was founded in 2012 by former NBA star and entrepreneur Magic Johnson.
“Since day one of AspireTV’s launch, Comcast has been a strong supporter of the network,” said Melissa Ingram, SVP of Multicultural Networks and Strategy, UP Entertainment. “We are grateful for the continued partnership and their belief in the importance of AspireTV’s vision to provide Black and urban lifestyle programming that allows Xfinity customers to ‘see themselves here’.”
Stemming from a consent decree entered into with federal regulators permitting its acquisition of NBCUniversal a decade ago, Comcast has supported a range of networks aimed at diverse audiences. That commitment was challenged by prominent media executive Byron Allen, who pursued a legal case all the way to the Supreme Court alleging Comcast discriminated against his networks because he is Black. The parties reached a settlement last year after the court rejected Allen’s argument.
The expansion of AspireTV, Comcast and the network said, is part of an ongoing commitment from Comcast to “increasing access to best-in-class Black programming and amplifying Black voices and stories and providing a platform for the next generation of Black storytellers.”
Comcast currently offers its customers access more than 100 independent networks targeted to deliver content that centers on culturally diverse audiences, as well as on-demand content.
“We are passionate about creating the world’s best and most diverse collection of multicultural programming and entertainment available anywhere,” added Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. “Through our partnership with AspireTV, we are proud to continue to play a role in expanding access to high quality programming that celebrates the stories and achievements of the Black community, for millions of additional Xfinity customers.”
AspireTV programming includes Side by Side, a docuseries featuring twin sisters Malika and Khadijah Haqq, as well as shows like HBCU 101 and Fast Break. The network also plans to re-air CIAA conference basketball games from 2017-2020.