SEC, ESPN agree to milestone contract
Calling it a "milestone'' agreement, ESPN and the SEC have entered into a new 15-year agreementm, beginning next season, which will mark the longest national rights agreement in the network's history.
Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal reported the deal is worth $2.25 billion over the life of the deal. The SEC will get about $150 million a year. CBS reached a 15-year deal with the conference in mid-August that is also worth about $55 million per year. The two deals mean each SEC school will get close to $20 million a year from the two contracts.
As part of the new deal, ESPN entities (ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic) will carry more than 5,500 SEC events – including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and SEC championships.
The deal ends any chance the conference will develop its own television network similar to the Big Ten. SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the deal has been in the works for the past year. The
contract allows the 12 schools to maintain local multimedia contracts. UF recently reached an $80 million agreement with Sun sports for 10 years, starting in 2009.
ESPN has been televising the SEC since 1982. As part of the new agreement:
- ESPN and ESPN2 will continue to offer premier SEC games, including Saturday night and two primetime Thursday football games, three nights (instead of one) of men’s basketball and present SEC championships in women’s basketball, baseball, softball and gymnastics.
- ESPN Regional Television will become the new over-the-air syndication home for SEC football and basketball games. In addition, ESPN and the SEC will work together to offer multi-sport packages (including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships) of SEC content for regional cable syndication.
-ESPNU will now offer exclusive SEC telecasts, including football and basketball and selected conference championships. In addition, the network will present a weekly, hour-long program on SEC sports throughout the academic year as well as sport-by-sport previews, reviews and specials.
- The semifinals and championship of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be televised nationally for the first time on ESPN on ABC.
- All SEC championship games, except football, will be aired on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPNU or ESPN Classic.