With the SEC Network premiere date looming ever closer, the cable and satellite providers who have yet to sign on seem to be getting nervous.
A new ad campaign called “SEC Fans First” surfaced on Outkick the Coverage before it was supposed to go public, depicting a sad grandma saying she won’t be allowed to watch her grandson’s game because ESPN and the SEC are being greedy or something. Talk about a dramatic tug at the heartstrings.
Here is the statement from the website before it was all taken down:
SEC Fans First represents students, alumni, faculty, coaches, and the communities of the Southeastern Conference. We are passionate fans of the SEC and its teams. We love the rivalries, the traditions, and the success of our conference. We are fighting the exorbitant costs — hundreds of millions of dollars every year that fans would have to pay — being demanded by the forthcoming SEC Network.
The video has been removed from YouTube and secfansfirst.com has been taken down, but OKTC eventually linked the campaign to an ad agency whose top client is Comcast. An ad campaign to besmirch the SEC Network from money-grabbing by the largest cable provider in the United States is a bit hypocritical, isn’t it?
After requesting a comment, Comcast did respond to OKTC with the obligatory “We’re workin’ on it” response:
“We are currently engaged in good faith negotiations with ESPN on carriage of the SEC Network and are optimistic we will reach an agreement with them. This campaign was not authorized to be implemented and does not reflect the current state of our negotiations. We apologize for any confusion.”
That, like DirecTV’s reversed statement last month, is a response to the rabidity of SEC fans. Pac-12 fans want the games and the Pac-12 Network, but can just go to a sports bar to watch it and aren’t necessarily willing to give up DirecTV for it. The day that SEC fans couldn’t watch a football game, they would video themselves lighting their cable box on fire and email it to Comcast, while on the phone with Dish Network.
SEC devotees are many things, but naive is not one of them. They know a ruse when they see one, and paying $1.30 a month extra to see their sports is a pittance compared to not being able to watch at all. However, it’s going to take another ugly distribution fight for fans to get access to games they want to see.