|Launched||August 14, 2014|
|Owned by||ESPN Inc.
(The Walt Disney Company, 80%; Hearst Corporation, 20%)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTV sets)
|Slogan||Take It All In|
|Headquarters||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Dish Network||408 (HD/SD), 404 (Hopper)
596-599 (HD/SD), 404.1 (HD/SD), 404.2 (HD/SD), 404.3 (HD/SD) (Hopper)
|Available on many cable providers||Check local listings for channel number|
|AT&T U-Verse||1607 (HD), 607 (SD)
1608 (HD), 1609 (HD), 608 (SD), 609 (SD)
|Verizon FiOS||575 (HD) FL & TX only, 75 (SD)
332 (SD), 832 (HD)
|CenturyLink||1607 (HD), 607 (SD)|
|Google Fiber||216 (HD/SD)|
(U.S. cable internet subscribers only; requires login from pay television provider to access content)
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
SEC Network is an American digital cable and satellite television channel that is owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% controlling ownership interest) and the Hearst Corporation (which holds the remaining 20% interest). The channel is dedicated to coverage of collegiate sports sanctioned by the Southeastern Conference (SEC) including live and recorded event telecasts, news, analysis programs, and other content focusing on the conference's member schools.
The network's coverage serves as the successor to an eponymous syndication package (later renamed SEC TV), which was produced by its syndication arm ESPN Regional Television. SEC Network is operated out of ESPNU's facilities in Charlotte, North Carolina. While Charlotte is not an SEC market itself, it is in close proximity to universities that are members of the conference and shares a television market with the northern part of South Carolina, which is part of the South Carolina Gamecocks' television market.
On May 2, 2013, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN president John Skipper formally announced that as part of a long-term, 20-year agreement lasting through 2034, ESPN would launch SEC Network, a network devoted to the conference and an accompanying digital platform, in August 2014. The network would aim to provide "unparalleled content from one of the most competitive conferences in the country with the highest quality, most innovative production partner in the sports industry", and joins the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network as cable television networks devoted entirely to a single college athletics conference.
During the announcement of the SEC's football schedule for the 2014 season, Mike Slive officially announced that SEC Network would launch on August 14, 2014. Its first live regular season football games aired on August 28, 2014, between Texas A&M and South Carolina, and Temple and Vanderbilt.
SEC Network officially launched on August 14, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. ET with the premiere of its news program SEC Now, which featured live broadcasts from each SEC school, highlights from football training camps, and live look-ins of an exhibition women's soccer game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and Creighton Bluejays (which was broadcast in its entirety via WatchESPN as the first live event produced by SEC Network).
SEC Network airs events across the 21 sports that are sanctioned by the conference; within its first year, the network and its digital outlets plan to broadcast at least 1,000 live events, with at least 450 on television. Annually, the network will broadcast about 45 football games, 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, and 75 baseball games. For football, SEC Network plans to air three Saturday games per week in early, afternoon, and evening windows. While CBS will maintain its first pick of games for its 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time telecast, it will no longer have an exclusive broadcast window for SEC football games, allowing ESPN's outlets and SEC Network to air games alongside CBS. In all, SEC Network plans to broadcast football games featuring all fourteen of the conference's member schools within the first month of the 2014 season.
Events not broadcast on television will be streamed online through SEC Network's website and the WatchESPN service under the SEC Network Plus branding. ESPN staff worked with each SEC member school to ensure that they have in-house production facilities capable of originating programming and live events for SEC Network.
Original content on SEC Network includes studio and analysis programs, along with programs produced by the SEC's member institutions. Paul Finebaum signed with ESPN Radio to host The Paul Finebaum Show, which is simulcast by SEC Network, along with Finebaum's previous flagship station WJOX-FM. During college football season, it airs SEC Nation, a travelling pre-game show similar to ESPN's own College GameDay, hosted by ESPN commentator Joe Tessitore. The network also airs encore presentations of SEC events, along with classic games involving its members.
On December 30, 2013, ESPN announced that former University of Florida, Denver Broncos, and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow had signed a multi-year deal with ESPN to serve as a college football analyst. Tebow also will make appearances on SEC Nation. On March 12, 2014, ESPN named Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer as lead game announcers for SEC Network's football telecasts. As a result, Musburger will no longer call Saturday Night Football or post-season bowl games, but will remain a commentator for Big 12 basketball games aired on ESPN. On March 24, 2014, it was announced that former University of Alabama and New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy was hired as a college football analyst for the SEC Network on a multi-year contract.
AT&T U-verse was announced as the first television provider to agree to carry SEC Network. On January 13, 2014, Sports Business Journal reported that ESPN was seeking a carriage rate of $1.30 per-subscriber per month in SEC markets, and $0.25 in non-SEC markets; in comparison, Big Ten Network charges around $1 per subscriber in Big Ten markets. It was also noted that SEC Network's opening doubleheader may had been intended to put pressure on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter Communications to carry the network, as they predominantly involved teams located within their service areas.
In March 2014, Dish Network reached an agreement to carry SEC Network as part of a wider carriage deal with Disney–ABC Television Group for its ABC owned-and-operated stations and cable television networks. On April 30, 2014, Google Fiber was added as a carrier. In June 2014, network head Justin Connolly expressed concern for the lack of carriage deals for SEC Network beyond those with AT&T and Dish Network, and considered the situation to be "alarming." However, he also noted that the network may successfully negotiate more carriage deals closer to its launch.
On July 9, 2014, Cox Communications, whose subscriber base includes five SEC markets, reached an agreement to carry SEC Network. Exact terms were not disclosed. Nine days later, ESPN also reached a deal with Comcast to carry SEC Network; in SEC markets, the provider will pay a carriage rate of $1.40 per-subscriber per month. On July 25, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks reached deals to carry SEC Network, followed by Cable One and Wide Open West on August 1. On August 2, 2014, Suddenlink Communications announced that it had reached an agreement to carry the network on the launch date. On August 4, 2014, DirecTV, and C Spire Wireless both announced agreements to carry the network (the latter deal was made through the National Cable Television Cooperative, in which C Spire would provide its Fiber to the Home HDTV subscribers with access to the SEC Network App). These announcements were followed by an agreement with Charter Communications on August 6, 2014. Mediacom reached an agreement to carry the network on August 14, 2014.
With the Mediacom agreement, the two major television providers that did not reach a carriage deal prior to launch were Verizon FiOS and Cablevision. However, on August 21, 2014, Sports Business Daily reported that Verizon FiOS had reached a deal to carry the network in its Texas and Florida service areas (which are within the SEC footprint). Cablevision does not have any markets within the SEC footprint. NASA has arranged for the SEC Network to be made available on the International Space Station.
- "SEC And ESPN Announce New TV Network". SEC. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
- "SEC Releases 2014 Conference Football Schedule". SEC. 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
- "SEC Network announced: Launching in 2014, AT&T already on board". SBNation (Vox Media). May 2, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
- "SEC Will Start TV Network in 2014". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "SEC Network Unveils Brand Campaign". Multichannel News. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "ESPN packs SEC Network launch with training camp inside looks". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- "SEC Network will launch at 5 p.m. Central time with 'SEC Now'". Nola.com. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- "Creighton women will be first game on new SEC Network; Jays picked 8th in Big East". Omaha World-Herald. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- "All 14 teams to play on SEC Network in early season". Birmingham Business Journal. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- "Inside the SEC's New Moneymaker". Bleacher Report. Turner Sports. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "Schools upgrade broadcast facilities for SEC Network". Tampa Bay Times. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "Paul Finebaum returns to radio: 'The callers have been incredibly loyal ... it should be their day'". AL.com. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Bishop, Greg (May 21, 2013). "Radio Host Paul Finebaum joins ESPN". The New York Times.
- "SEC Football: Tessitore to host SEC Nation pre-game show on SEC Network". Montgomery Advertiser (Gannett). Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "Tim Tebow joins ESPN as analyst for SEC Network". ESPN.com. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- "Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer lead SEC team". ESPN.com. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- "Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer named SEC Network's lead team". Sports Illustrated (Time Inc.). Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- Wilson, Aaron (March 24, 2014). "Greg McElroy hired by SEC Network". National Football Post. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "SEC Network’s cost will top that of other college nets". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Liebermann, David (3 March 2014). "Dish And Disney Finalize Output Deal That Ends Their Ad-Hopper Dispute". Deadline.com. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- "Disney, Dish Network reach truce on ad-skipping AutoHop". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing Company). Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- "Google Fiber to Carry SEC Network for August 14, 2014 Debut". SECDigitalNetwork.com (SEC). April 30, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
- "SEC Network leader 'alarmed' more carriers haven't signed up to carry channel". Birmingham Business Journal. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- "SEC Network lands deal with another cable provider". Birmingham Business Journal. July 9, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
- Tucker, Kyle (2014-07-18). "Comcast Xfinity signs on to carry SEC Network". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved 2014-07-18.
- "SEC Network, Time Warner Cable reach deal". Courier-Journal (Gannett Company). 25 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- "WOW! gets SEC Network". Montgomery Advertiser (Gannett Company). Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- "Cable One reaches agreement to carry SEC Network". Sun Herald (The McClatchy Company). Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- "DIRECTV to Provide New SEC Network on August 14, 2014". ESPN MediaZone. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.