After months of talk — heck, after years of talk — the SEC Network is just days away from being formally announced. At noon ET, Tuesday in Atlanta, the SEC and ESPN will publicly share their plans for the new channel.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive, university presidents and athletic directors, and ESPN executives will all be on hand for the presser. According to The SportsBusiness Daily, the two parties have already begun calling “key constituents” and inviting the SEC’s corporate sponsors to the event.
The new channel is expected to be based in Charlotte at ESPN’s regional television hub. (Note to self: If/when league expands into the Tar Heel State, prepare for cries of local bias.) Sales for the channel are expected to be handled out of Atlanta.
It’s still believed the network will launch in August 2014, just in time for football season.
As we first reported in December, it’s expected member schools (and the SEC office which gets an even split) will bring in yearly shares of $30-35 million once the league’s television and bowl contracts are all re-worked and signed. A USA Today sports analysis projected the same numbers in January. Currently, the average payout for SEC schools is $20.1 million.
There is certainly the possibility for the league to bring in even more cash with its network down the road, depending on distribution agreements. For a start-up network, however, it’s difficult to imagine ESPN — which has been stung by distribution troubles with its Longhorn Network — placing too large a subscriber fee on cable/satellite providers and their viewers right off the bat.
It is expected the SEC and ESPN will co-own the network with one party holding 51% ownership. The SEC will likely be the one holding 51%, just as the Big Ten controls 51% of its network with FOX owning 49%.