The Southeastern Conference partners with ESPN to launch the SEC Network.
Some day, Tiger fans might have difficulty imagining a time before the SEC Network.
In an unprecedented commitment between sports league and cable network, the Southeastern Conference and ESPN announced the formation of the SEC ESPN Network beginning in 2014 with a contract that extends through 2034.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN President John Skipper made the announcement May 2 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. Standing in front of dozens of high profile coaches and calling this the “golden age” for the SEC, Slive revealed that the 24/7 sports channel and its accompanying digital platform will air more than 1,000 events during its first year, including 45 football games, 160 men’s and women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and other sports. Representatives declined to share the financial particulars of the deal at this point.
“We’re both happy,” said Slive, smiling.
Mizzou basketball Coach Frank Haith, football Coach Gary Pinkel and Director of Athletics Mike Alden were present. Mizzou made multiple appearances in a video montage of SEC highlights that included Truman twirling his tail, the Tiger softball team and a crane shot of Francis Quadrangle during ESPN College GameDay’s 2010 Homecoming visit to Columbia.
“We know the move to the SEC has already elevated our brand from a national standpoint, and this SEC Network will do that even more so, exponentially,” Alden said. “We are now associated with a national network that will give our programs and our name access to major markets throughout the country.”
Slive noted that, under existing agreements, CBS will still have first pick of its weekly SEC football matchup while the SEC Network will air three games every Saturday. Programming will include studio shows, original content, spring football games, and coverage of signing days and pro days.
“We recruit nationally at Missouri,” Haith said. “To be able to go coast to coast and list off the channels families can watch their sons play on every night of the week, wow, that’s a powerful selling point.”