|Launched||August 21, 2014|
|Owned by||ESPN Inc.|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Headquarters||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Sister channel(s)||SEC TV, ESPNU|
The SEC Network (also known as the SEC ESPN Network) is an upcoming cable college sports network dedicated to coverage of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), scheduled to launch on August 21, 2014. The network will be operated by ESPN as part of a 20-year partnership, and feature coverage of SEC sports, along with news/analysis programs and other content focusing on the SEC's member schools. The network's coverage will also succeed an identically-named syndication package which was produced by ESPN's regional arm, ESPN Plus.
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 the SEC Network, a network devoted to the conference and an accompanying digital platform, in August 2014. The network will be based out of ESPN's facilities in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will 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." The network will join the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network as 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 the SEC Network would launch on August 21, 2014, and that its first live regular season football game, between Texas A&M and South Carolina, would air on August 28, 2014.
SEC Network will air events across the 21 sports that the conference sponsors; within its first year, the network and its digital outlets plan to broadcast at least 1000 live events, with at least 450 on television. Yearly, the network will broadcast approximately 45 football games, 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, and 75 baseball games. Original content on SEC Network will include studio and analysis programs, programs produced by the SEC's member institutions, along with encore presentations of past SEC events. In May 2013, Paul Finebaum signed with ESPN to host a daily radio show based out of Charlotte, which will be simulcast by SEC Network.
For football, SEC Network plans to air three Saturday games per week, covering a morning, afternoon, and evening game. While CBS will maintain its first pick of games for its 3:30 p.m. ET telecast, it will no longer have an exclusive broadcast window—allowing ESPN's outlets and SEC Network to air games alongside CBS.
On December 6, 2013, on the Paul Finebaum Radio Show, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive confirmed rumors that the SEC Network would broadcast a "College Gameday"-style program each Saturday during the football season entitled "SEC Nation." The "SEC Nation" broadcast will be hosted by ESPN commentator Joe Tessitore, and will also feature analysis from Paul Finebaum. Slive also confirmed that the first "SEC Nation" broadcast would originate from the campus of Auburn University on Saturday, August 30, 2014, prior to the Arkansas vs Auburn football game.
- "SEC And ESPN Announce New TV Network > SEC > NEWS". Secdigitalnetwork.com. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
- "SEC Releases 2014 Conference Football Schedule > SEC > NEWS". Secdigitalnetwork.com. 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
- "SEC Network announced: Launching in 2014, AT&T already on board". SBNation. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "SEC Will Start TV Network in 2014". New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Bishop, Greg (May 21, 2013). "Radio Host Paul Finebaum joins ESPN". The New York Times.
- Donohue, Steve (May 2, 2013). "ESPN to use AT&T U-verse deal to demand expanded basic slot for SEC network". FierceCable. Retrieved September 1, 2013.