SEC Network Formally Announced

Andy Lyons

The long-awaited announcement of the SEC Network happened this afternoon in Atlanta.

Today, the SEC and ESPN announced a 20 year (!) agreement through 2034 today. The agreement encompasses many forms of media and will launch in 2014. Here are the details that I know:

  • When? Launch is August, 2014.

  • Where? Charlotte, NC, because ESPN has an existing facility there. I hear Seal Team Six will be detailed there to protect against ACC terrorism.

  • About 45 football games and over 100 men’s basketball games will be televised, along with 60 women’s games, 75 baseball games, and other sporting events each year. All in all, every waking moment of your life will be consumed by ESPN and its affiliates. "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!" said one ESPN executive.

  • Coverage will include stuff like spring games, signing day, pro day, and also original content and studio shows. At least 450 total events will be televised annually. I hear a rumor that there might be a show entitled "Days Of Our Slive," "Survivor SEC," "Dancing With The Quarterbacks," and "The Tebows," but that’s just a rumor.

  • There will apparently be additional content offered exclusively on the digital platform (read: Internet). Whether that will be YouTube quality or something better is anybody’s guess.

  • ESPN will now oversee the SEC’s corporate sponsor program. That means that Sauron (ESPN) and Saruman (Nike) have officially joined forces to bring Chris Berman and Air Jordans into every corner of your life.

  • AT&T U-verse will distribute the pay TV service. That means that whatever you thought you were going to pay, double it and add dropped frames.

  • Production quality is expected to be at the level of ESPN’s other channels. I have nothing bad to say about that, really. Believe it when I see it.

  • The network programming will run 24/7. So if you are not already inundated with sports enough sports programming to crowd out your meals, now you will be. Intravenous feeding is not included in the price of the network subscription.

  • The network will be able to re-air games broadcast on other ESPN networks and CBS. That means reruns, more reruns!

  • Mike Slive wouldn’t discuss the money stuff, like how much revenue it’s expected to bring in, or how much of a stake the SEC has in the arrangement, but Jim Delaney was reportedly crying uncontrollably when Slive told him about the deal.

  • Supposedly, it’s a national network, which should be good news to you guys always looking for a pirate stream for games. Of course, if you live in, say, Panama, you’re probably just as screwed now as before.

There is a bunch of other stuff, and you can find it at the resources I have listed at the end of this article. Aside from all the "unparalleled an galactically awesome" hyperbole surrounding all this, it looks like a big moneymaker for the conference and conference members. Will it be bigger than the B1G, or more galactically awesome? No idea.

Yes, it will cost money. I know that is a surprise. I have no idea whether it will be included in a particular cable lineup, or distributed as an additional service, or whatever. Those decisions are made by the cable and telco providers, and the SEC and ESPN would never talk about something so gauche as how much it might cost all these SEC fans. They prefer to defer that to already unpopular companies like your cable provider and AT&T.

Thats about it.

References For More Info:

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