ESPN has been striking deals left and right to carry the new SEC Network that launches next month. Just yesterday ESPN announced smaller carriage deals with the likes of LUS Fiber, Wilkes Telephone and PTC Communications. Those joined the likes of Dish, Cox and AT&T U-Verse, but there were still big providers still not yet signed up.
It appears you will soon be able to check one huge box on the SEC Network carriage list – Comcast.
A source at Comcast e-mailed this internal flier to Awful Announcing regarding an agreement between the company and SEC Network.
According to Comcast, the memo is in preparation of an official announcement being made and not confirmation that a deal has been signed. Comcast spokesman John Demming tells Awful Announcing, “We’re having productive discussions with ESPN and expect to come to an agreement. It’s not uncommon to prepare for a channel launch like this when conversations are productive. We hope to have an agreement soon.”
A deal with Comcast a month before the season begins would be a massive victory for ESPN and a massive victory for subscribers that were anxiously waiting to see whether or not they would have the network. In recent days, SEC Network officials had expressed optimism that a deal with Comcast was imminent and according to this internal note, that may soon be a reality. With Comcast potentially on board, it would theoretically be one of the last major dominoes that needs to fall for SEC Network to get full carriage. The likes of DirecTV and Time Warner Cable have yet to come to an agreement with the network. (UPDATE: At the same time our story was posted, Fox Sports reported DirecTV “expects to be able to provide the network soon.”)
If SEC Network can clear these major providers before the start of the season, it will go a long way in entrenching their place at the top of the conference network food chain immediately.