SEC announces launch of new SEC Network in conjunction with ESPN
Calling it a tremendous opportunity for the league, the SEC on Thursday officially announced the creation of a new SEC Network – a joint venture between the league and ESPN - which is scheduled to launch in August of 2014.
ESPN and the SEC have entered into an agreement that will run through 2034. The new network and its digital platform will air content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and in the first year is expected to televise more than 1,000 events.
“The SEC Network will provide an unparalleled fan experience of top quality SEC content presented across the television network and its accompanying digital platforms,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “We will increase exposure of SEC athletics programs at all 14 member institutions, as we showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league.”
The network will televise approximately 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include studio shows, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games and signing day and pro days coverage. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform.
CBS will retain the rights to the first selection of an SEC game each week, then other games will be aired on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and the SEC Network, which will air three SEC football games weekly.
“There will be something for every SEC fan, all the time,” Slive said.
The league will remain a “Saturday football league”, Slive said, adding the SEC remains committed to playing just two Thursday night games during the football season.
Slive and SEC executives declined to discuss specifics about the economic impact of the new network on the league’s 14-member schools, but it is expected to be significant. The Big Ten Network is currently in more than 50 million homes and generated $284 million for its schools in 2012.
“I will say this,” Slive said. “We believe, and I think it’s already been established, that this network will be very successful in terms of distribution and ultimately the development of potential significant revenue. . . We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t believe that it was going to be in the long-term benefit of the league, both in terms of distribution and in terms of revenue.”