April 16th, 2013 02:29 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: ESPN, IMG, Learfield Sports, SEC
Since May of 2010, we’ve been pointing to the possibility of an SEC-owned network (though some sites that launched well after 2010 would have you believe they were the first to cover the topic). Money has always been the driving factor behind such a channel. And now the talk all revolves around how much cash the network could bring in for the league and its teams.
But the SEC’s new deal with ESPN is about so much more than just the new SEC Network.
As we showed you yesterday, The SportsBusiness Daily reported on Monday that the SEC has bought back all of its third-tier television rights from groups like IMG, Learfield Sports, and CBS Collegiate Sports Properties. In addition, the conference also bought back its digital rights from XOS Digital, the group currently behind the SEC Digital Network and SECSports.com.
Moving forward, ESPN will be allowed to sell all of those rights together. Instead of XOS Digital selling this chunk, IMG selling that chunk, and ESPN selling another chunk, now the league will have an ESPN sales force packaging all its products.
That aspect of the deal — even more than the new SEC Network alone — will fill the conference’s coffers like never before. The television network will be a big part of it, to be sure, but it’s the ability to bundle television, digital (internet), and syndication rights together that is at the heart of this new SEC/ESPN coupling.
In the past, the SEC has taken the easiest approach to making cash — it’s held out its hand. If a Learfield or an XOS or an IMG offered the most money for some portion of the league’s multimedia rights, Mike Slive smiled, said “thanks,” lit a cigar with a hundred dollar bill, and then put the rest of the loot in the bank. Every spring the league’s presidents would convene in Destin, grab a nice fat check from the league office, and then return home feeling pretty doggone good about things. As they should have.
But now the SEC has gotten even wiser. ‘Tis better to package everything together, they’ve realized. Better for sales, better for league revenue, better for the future.
Consider the following scenario.
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