SEC and ESPN Sign 20 Year Agreement to Form New Network
Going into 2014 the SEC eyes its eighth straight national title. Auburn can deliver this with a victory against the top ranked Seminoles on Jan 6. The NFL level talent and the exposure received by the dominance of teams such as Florida, LSU, Alabama, and Auburn have no doubt contributed to a recent announcement between ESPN and the SEC.
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement to create a new network due to launch in August 2014. The new SEC Network will be based in Charlotte NC and will feature 1,000 live events annually on TV and digitally.
Even though Charlotte is outside of the SEC footprint it is already home to ESPNU and it’s production hub in Ballantyne. The SEC network deal is expected to create 100 new jobs.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN President John Skipper announced the agreement creating the new network. Its contract length of 20-years is likely the longest broadcast contract in all of US sports.
“Charlotte offered us the opportunity to concentrate quality production and getting this network right, not building a building and thinking about that for the next 16 months,” said Skipper.
The network will show 45 SEC football games, 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball, 75 baseball games, as well as 21 other SEC 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,” said SEC Commissioner Slive. “We will increase exposure of SEC athletics programs at all 14 member institutions, as we showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league. The agreement for a network streamlines and completes an overall media rights package that will continue the SEC’s leadership for the foreseeable future.”
Currently only AT&T U-verse has signed to carry the new network while deals with Time Warner Cable, DirectTV, and others, are still in the works. CBS will retain its first choice of which games to broadcast for Saturday Football. The new SEC network will be able to cover the remaining three windows of time throughout the day.
There is so much going on in Charlotte right now, and the addition of the SEC network is just another great example of how the city is growing.