SEC and ESPN Announce New SEC Network
The worst kept secret in collegiate athletics officially came out today. The Southeastern Conference along with ESPN, is launching it's own network in August 2014 that will be based out of Charlotte, N.C. The SEC Network will broadcast content including live events, original programming and institution specific programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week into potentially over 100 million households nationwide.
Within the 11-state footprint of the SEC, ESPN is seeking as wide distribution as possible on a near equal level of the ESPN network itself. Outside the conference footprint, ESPN Distribution believes the network will have a similar reach of ESPNU, which is in approximately 75 million homes across the country.
With the network under the direction of the World Wide Leader in Sports, ESPN President John Skipper promised the highest possible production quality in a feel consistent with every other ESPN Network.
The SEC Network will air over 1,000 live sports broadcast each year - including content on it's digital platform - that will include 45 football games, 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games and 250 from all other Olympic sports - including baseball and softball.
One big change for fans will be where they find the gridiron action each weekend in the fall. The new SEC Network will have three games on Saturday, one in the early/Noon window, one midday that will coincide with CBS's broadcast and one in the evening. Commissioner Mike Slive said that games will remain on Saturday with the exception of the two annual Thursday night games that are a part of the league's current deal with ESPN, which has also been extended through 2034 - the longest television agreement in all of sports.
Good news for the fans is there will be no more Pay-Per-View or regionally televised games, with all football games being broadcast on either CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or the SEC Network.
Outside of live events, the network will include original programming such as the current "SEC Storied" series that runs on ESPNU along with daily reporting of the conference (the network is project to have a full-time staff near 100), sports broadcast replays including classic games and programming focused on individual institutions within the conference.
As far as who you will see as the face of the new network? ESPN says that they will have a mix of both current ESPN personalities along with new on-air staff.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed by the conference.
AT&T U-Verse has already signed on to distribute the network nationwide. That is extremely early for a network 16 months from launch, but the SEC and ESPN have already launced a website for you to tell your provider you want the network. www.GetSECNetwork.com