Aspire Signs Launch Sponsors

Magic-JohnsonOne new minority-owned cable channel is getting a boost from some launch advertising deals.

Aspire, the new cable Comcast cable network that willl offer African-American programming under ownership of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, signed deals with Universal McCann for a number of clients, including Nationwide Insurance and L’Oréal USA brands L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline New York, as well as Garnier and Soft-Sheen Carson.

Aspire launches in June.

Two of those clients -- L’Oréal brands and Nationwide Insurance -- are getting category exclusivity for an undisclosed period of time.

In addition, Universal McCann clients will get product placement efforts in programming on another cable network -- GMC, a music and family entertainment channel in 50 million TV homes.

More deals are on the way. In a press release, Mary Jeanne Cavanagh, executive vice president of ad sales for Aspire and GMC, said her team is on the verge of closing additional Aspire launch deals before the upfront.

In February, Comcast Corp. announced that is was launching new minority-owned independent networks to be distributed on its systems between April 2012 and January 2014.

They include Aspire; Revolt, a new music channel from Sean “Diddy” Combs; BabyFirst Americas, a Spanish-language baby/young child channel; and El Rey, a Latino-programming network from film director Robert Rodriguez.

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