The SEC is soon going to restructure their media deals with ESPN and CBS following the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M, and the end result of the negotiations will more than likely result in the creation of the SEC Network that could be ready to launch by the 2014 football season.
The SEC is apparently talking with ESPN in an attempt to form a partnership to form the network, much like ESPN is involved in the Longhorn Network. It’s unknown as of now if the SEC will actually own a chunk of the network like the Big Ten does with the BTN, or just sell its media rights to ESPN, which is currently paying the SEC $150 million a year for rights for all games not broadcast on CBS. In addition to the two possibilies mentioned for the SEC Network, there’s also another route, which is currently in use by the Pac-12: owning every regional network, and going from there.
The SEC needs to do something, because right now, that $150 million from ESPN is paling in comparison to the $250 million a year the Pac-12 recently snagged from ESPN and FOX. While the SEC also gets about $55 million a year from CBS, their total take-home is still less than the Pac-12. Hell, it’s even less than what the football-deficient ACC is getting from ESPN ($240 million per year).
The SEC, home of the best football in the country, is not only behind the eight-ball in creating a network, but is also taking home less from TV partners in comparison to other conferences. I’m really not sure how this is acceptable for the member schools, especially given the success and branding power of the SEC. Obviously, this will be changing very soon, but the SEC as of yet hasn’t stepped up off the field in comparison to the other major conferences.
[h/t: Sporting News]