New TV Network Focused on Auctions

Executives at the new Auction Network are hoping to bring sports memorabilia houses into the fold as they prepare to launch next month.

More sports memorabilia auction houses may have to start looking at live formats with a new television network set to debut this fall.

Auction Network TV will go live on the internet October 28 before making an expected trip to cable and satellite providers across North America in 2008.

The network, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be a 24-hour channel devoted to a wide variety of auctions and auction-related programming. While the network plans to associate with everything from thoroughbred horse auctions to vintage cars, wine and celebrity fare, the sports world is definitely on the radar.

"Sports memorabilia represents a significant part of the auction industry, and one that appeals to a broad range of consumers," Auction Network Director of Communications G.T. Bynum told "Certainly, sports memorabilia offers the kind of history and drama that make auctions exciting and dynamic – and perfect material for programming on the Auction Network."

Pam McKissick, former President and CEO of TV Guide Networks is the CEO and founder of Auction Network. She says the network will offer 24-hour streaming video including live and taped auction broadcasts along with feature programming and profiles of collectors, auctioneers and others involved in the industry.

"The percentage of live programming will increase as the Auction Network continues to grow," Bynum promised. "The network has been built around the idea of facilitating simulcast auctions that you can bid on through your computer, cellphone, PDA, or even the set-top box on your television. If you are a collector of autographed boxing gloves, you’ll be able to run a search and find out where and when those items will be auctioned – and when it will be broadcast on Auction Network so you can bid from anywhere in the world."

Bynum said the network has already approached some sports memorabilia auction companies about possible future involvement. "Sports memorabilia is an important segment of the auction industry and brings a great deal of excitement with it. There’s no doubt it will have an important programming role."

The company has already partnered with media and communications companies to assist in broadcasting auctions taking place around the world.

"Each of these companies represent the best in their field, and reflect the Auction Network’s commitment to the complex technologies that must interface in order to deliver a live, real-time, interactive auction from the lawn and make it available globally," Bynum explained.

Auction Network is working with the National Auctioneers Association, representing 6500 auctioneers nationwide. Network executives believe the new venture will make auctions into events by expanding their reach.

"Auction Network fills an untapped niche in an uncluttered category," McKissick said. "Live auctions are currently an entertainment destination for over 70 million Americans every year. Until now, no U.S. network has been dedicated to this incredibly exciting entertainment genre. Our multi-media, interactive network is a cross between ESPN and eBay and will provide fast-paced fun for viewers who want to bid live or online or simply watch the excitement."