Demand will drive SEC Network

08/20/2013 3:47 PM

08/20/2013 4:08 PM

Want the SEC Network? Ask for it.

That’s the message Justin Connolly brought to the Tiger Club of Kansas City on Tuesday. Connolly is an ESPN vice president for college networks who will oversee Southeastern Conference sports coverage.

“That’s a big piece of why I’m here,” Connolly said. “It’s an outreach effort to fans, to let them know well in advance it’s coming.”

The SEC Network, set to launch in August 2014, will air 45 football games and more than 100 men’s basketball games. On the day when the SEC announced its 2013-14 basketball schedule, Connolly wouldn’t speculate which of those matchups might be SEC Network targets for the next season.

But some of the attractive ones will be.

“There’s an understanding between the conference and the schools that in order to make this thing go, to run well and draw the attention of consumers and distributors, that we’re going to have to schedule meaningful games that will resonate with fan bases,” Connolly said.

That goes for football as well.

ESPN and the SEC are banking on attractive content for fans to demand the network as part of a basic tier lineup on distributors such as Time Warner Cable, Cox, Comcast, Dish and DirecTV. The SEC already has secured a deal with AT&T U-verse.

According to industry analysts at SNL Kagan, ESPN receives more than $5 per month from each of its 100 million or so subscribers, making it the most expensive channel on your cable bill.

Some have speculated that the SEC Network may charge an additional $1 per month in subscriber fees in the league’s 11-state footprint, including Missouri.

CBS will continue to have first choice on football, including the SEC football championship game, and men’s basketball games.

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