What a difference a year makes. One year removed from the Big 12 and Texas A&M has a 11-2 season in the SEC, a victory over National Champion Alabama on the road in Tuscaloosa, a Heisman winning Quarterback that may be the greatest Twitter troll in the history of college sports, a recently announced Mecca of college football in the South, and now we have the SEC Network.
First: The News Recap
- Media rights agreement between ESPN and the SEC extended through 2034. This is the longest agreement in all of sports.
- The official name of the network is the SEC Network.
- The SEC Network will air 1,000 live sporting events each year, 450 on the Network and 550 distributed digitally.
- 45 football games will be broadcast on the SEC Network over 13 weeks.
- As expected, the SEC Network will launch in August 2014.
- AT&T UVERSE has already signed on to distribute the SEC Network.
- ESPN will become the content manager of all SEC digital media as well.
- You can request the SEC Network from your provider at getsecnetwork.com
- ESPN plans for the SEC Network to reach a level of distribution equal to ESPNU, which is in 75 million homes.
- The SEC will only play two Thursday night games, and that won't change.
- SEC football games will be played on CBS (first pick), ESPN, ESPN2, and the SEC Network.
- Commissioner Slive anticipates additional discussion on scheduling and the potential for a 9-game schedule.
- Pay-per-view games are a thing of the past for teams in the SEC.
- The SEC Network will be based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. That is also where ESPNU is headquartered.
Second: The Instant Reaction
This is just awesome. That's clear right? I mean, do we really need to expand on this? Sure they didn't release any numbers (because they don't have all of them yet). They did mention they expect national distribution outside of the 11 SEC states to be similar to that of ESPNU, which is in 75 million homes across the country. Time out. Rich ass schools say what?
One of the big takeaways is the announcement of 45 SEC football games being broadcast live on SEC Network over 13 weeks. With that type of content, providers will have absolutely no choice but to pick up the channel. That's a lot of grade-A football that fans simply won't settle without. This is the kind of content that absolutely forces the hand of providers without a lot of begging and pleading from fans.
As far as providers go, Uverse jumped on this channel like a dog in heat. The agreement was in place before the official announcement was even made. It's safe to say this thing is going to take off in a big way.
I'm not even remotely worried about the SEC and ESPN not releasing any kind of dollar figures, and you shouldn't be neither. This network is huge for the SEC, and massive for Texas A&M. You need a stadium upgrade to any arena or stadium on campus? Done. You need to buy the latest and greatest strength and condition equipment to stay on top? Done. You need this? Done. You need that? Done. Aggie fans will never have to worry about financial implications in their athletic department. Never. That little piece of mind is something you simply can't put a price on. You join that little nugget with the magic that Kevin Sumlin, Johnny Manziel and crew created last season and you've got something truly special going on in Aggieland. As GBH writer OrionHjarvis said yesterday, "Not all that long ago I was unsure if the A&M sleeping giant would ever wake up. Big boy is finally up and he's pissed."