The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network which will launch August 14, 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will air SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. 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, signing day and pro days coverage. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform.
TAKE IT ALL IN
the SEC Network will bring football fans closer than ever before
to the country's premiere college conference
by Will Johnson '01
12th Man Productions
Have you ever seen the War Eagle fly across the plains?
Or Death Valley come alive on a Saturday night?
Or a sandstorm stir up in the Carolinas?
Only in the SEC can one witness such phenomena. But, in this league they are way-of-life traditions, nothing out of the ordinary. And with the SEC Network, you can bring them directly into your home.
In August, Roll Tide, Rocky Top and the ringing of the cowbells can be heard in your living room. And on your phone. And your tablet. And on your laptop. Anywhere you are, you’ll be able to access the pageantry and passion of the nation’s premier football conference.
August 14th is the launch date for the SEC Network. The commitment ESPN, and the conference, has made to this endeavor is incredible. A priority has clearly been placed on this channel.
“ESPN has made a tremendous, across-the-board commitment to the SEC Network, ranging from content and talent, to production and infrastructure,” said Jason Cook. The Texas A&M Senior Associate Athletics Director is leading the launch of the SEC Network from the Aggies’ standpoint.
“The fact that the SEC Network is already a national network months prior to launch speaks volumes. No other conference or institutional network to date has been able to make such a claim.”
The proof comes in what has been announced in the previous months.
The Big Ten unveiled its network in 2007, the Pac-12 in 2012. Both select their televised football games after ABC and ESPN, and Fox in the Pac-12’s case. They wait in line. The SEC Network will be in the mix, up front, from Day One.
CBS will still select first each week, when it comes to which SEC matchup to air, but they no longer have exclusivity on the coveted 2:30 p.m. timeslot. The Network, with ESPN and not after ESPN, will then begin to make their picks.
This channel will be in the business of bringing fans big-time contests from the nation’s best league. Just look at the first three weeks of its football-televising existence.
Three conference games will air on the SEC Network, including Texas A&M and South Carolina. Both the Aggies and Gamecocks are likely to be ranked when their August 28th matchup arrives. There is also a non-conference game between UCF and Missouri, both of whom finished in the top 10 last year, on the docket.
In the Big Ten and Pac-12’s first three weeks of football, no conference games aired, nor did a matchup of two ranked teams.
“You will see all 14 conference schools appear on the SEC Network in the first four weeks of the 2014 football season,” Cook said. “Viewers want to see big games. Kicking off with Texas A&M and South Carolina says this network will be different.”
What is marquee will become mainstream on this channel.
It’s not just the matchups, it’s the storytellers that also separate the SEC Network.
Signed on already are the likes of Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy.
Musburger has been the voice of college football’s biggest game, week in and week out, for decades. He’ll now be on hand for high-stakes affairs in the Southeastern Conference.
Palmer (Florida), Tebow (Florida) and McElroy (Alabama) all recently quarterbacked their schools to success in the league.
Tebow and McElroy will analyze from the studio, while Palmer will join Musburger as the lead announce team. With Palmer by his side, Musburger will remind all that they are ‘looking live’ at a top-notch tussle every Saturday.
“It’s a good mix of recognizable talent, and former players who are well known throughout the SEC,” says Cook. “Of course there’s Tim Tebow, who may have been the most recognizable SEC quarterback ever until Johnny Manziel came on the scene at A&M.”
In addition, the always popular Paul Finebaum Show will be simulcast on the SEC Network, and originate from their Charlotte, N.C. studios. Finebaum has been a staple for fans of the league for years.
“The list of people who will appear in front of the camera has certainly exceeded our expectations,” says Cook, “and more will be added to this impressive list as we get closer to launch.”
The SEC’s success is well documented. Eight consecutive appearances in the national championship game, winning seven. Highest in attendance, highest in television ratings, and an unheard of amount of NFL Draft picks the last two years. The players have given the nation a gridiron product that is simply unmatched.
The men who lead them are becoming household names--from Saban to Spurrier to Sumlin.
Together, the athletes and coaches provide fans with entertainment they cannot look away from.
This league is home to LSU vs. Alabama, where the stakes are high, but not to the level of the sheer intensity.
It’s the Iron Bowl, and only those strong as steel survive.
It’s Georgia and South Carolina early in September, and the implications still ringing loudly in November.
It’s the Egg Bowl, where the Bulldogs and Rebels hatch pure animosity towards one another.
And it’s Florida-Tennessee, and the history it carries with it.
Those that play and coach in this league are required to bring themselves to the point of complete exhaustion to just to win one game. That exhaustion is felt by the fan that just witnessed their relentless competition.
Those that suit up on Saturday in the SEC give their audience theatre and spectacle that is superior to all others.
But, it may be that audience itself that makes the Southeastern Conference a must-watch.
The atmosphere in an SEC stadium is contagious, it captures you. Many loud venues are just noisy. The SEC is where the noise has feel. It runs through you, it transfixes you.
These crowds hang on every play, every tradition.
They are the Volunteer Navy and the 12th Man.
They are what creates the scene at The Grove and The Swamp.
When they sing Hotty Toddy at Ole Miss or Call the Hogs in Arkansas, you hear them loud and clear. You feel them.
When they’re Between the Hedges in Athens or when they ‘split the T’ in Knoxville, the pulse raises with anticipation, pride and hope.
All of it. The Games, the Players and Coaches, the Fans. This is what you can’t miss. The SEC brings the best of everything on Saturdays in the fall.
The SEC Network is a must, because viewers simply can’t afford to miss this.
“As we’ve worked on the launch of the SEC Network, we’ve been reminded of what makes the SEC so great,” Cook says. “It’s the traditions, the pageantry, the excitement, the competition – no other conference compares to the SEC. We want fans everywhere to ‘Take It All In.’”
Take it in, yes. Drink it up. Taste it.
SEC Football has something for each of the senses. They’ll all heighten when the War Eagle flies, when Death Valley makes the earth shake, when the sandstorm kicks up in Columbia.
It will run through you.
The SEC Network is on its way.
Can you feel it?