MN Entrepreneur Says Real Estate Network is Coming

Robert Atkinson has been tight-lipped about details surrounding a multi-channel network that he says is in the works, but ESPN's founding chairman has joined the network's executive team.

If a local entrepreneur's plans come to fruition, the real estate industry will soon have a new hub for information and entertainment.

Robert Atkinson, who has worked in the local real estate industry for close to three decades, wants to launch The Real Estate Network-a 24-hour, multi-channel platform that will have television, Web, and mobile components.

Atkinson claims that the network will be “the largest, dedicated multi-media platform of its kind in the world.”

So far, he's been tight-lipped about further details surrounding the network. He won't say how far along the plans are, precisely when the network will launch, or how it's funded. “Stay tuned” is what he's been telling people.

But a news release indicated that the network will launch “in the near future” and that “millions of dollars of private equity have already been invested in the venture.” The network is now focused on adding to its board and management team, developing cable television and multimedia content, and raising additional capital, the release said.

The network-which operates out of Excelsior-scored a major coup when ESPN Founding Chairman Stuart Evey recently joined The Real Estate Network's executive team. He'll serve as chairman of the board, according to a news release.

“Our vision for ESPN was to create a 24-hour service for the sports industry, and it became the most successful story in broadcasting history,” Evey said in a statement. “I joined The Real Estate Network as its chairman because I quickly recognized that it presents another opportunity to build an iconic television network, Web marketplace, and brand in the real estate space. The Real Estate Network has the same potential as ESPN and will revolutionize the real estate industry in the same way that ESPN did for sports.”

Evey told the Star Tribune from his home in Spokane, Washington, that he has made a “modest” financial commitment to the network, is helping to identify investors, and is optimistic about its prospects.

“It's a hell of a thing,” he told the Minneapolis newspaper. “I don't have any hesitation about promoting it.”

Evey also reportedly said that the goal is to raise $3 million to $5 million and create a beta launch within about 10 months in order to help sell the idea to other investors and prospective partners.

But when it comes to launching a new network, there are some skeptics. Harv Furman, director of market investments at Minneapolis-based Compass Point Media-a subsidiary of Campbell Mithun-told the Star Tribune that launching a new network will be difficult because there are already so many competing for the same viewers and advertisers. He also questions whether there's enough entertainment value and day-to-day relevance to attract a significant audience for a 24/7 real estate network.

To read more about the network, including plans and potential hurdles, click here.