For those looking to watch marching bands instead of college football pundits at halftime, ESPN’s SEC Network is making that option available on their digital SEC Network+ channel this year. Those performances will be available online and on several connected TV options. Here’s more from the ESPN release on why they’re doing this:
“Each year we look for new ways to further enhance our presentation of college football for the viewer,” said ESPN coordinating producer Steve Ackels. “We are particularly interested in opportunities to visually showcase the fanfare of an SEC game. The infrastructure that has been built at SEC schools offers a unique opportunity for us to capture the incredible halftime shows that dazzle hundreds of thousands every weekend.”
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SEC Network + carries streaming-only events available to SEC Network subscribers via WatchESPN and the ESPN app. SEC Network + provides more than 1,000 exclusive events annually, in addition to the television channel’s 450 sports events. The SEC Network + channel on the WatchESPN app can be used on smartphones, tablets, computers, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360, Xbox One and more.
“In the SEC, the game day experience is much bigger than the action on the field. It’s the spirit of the 12th man at Texas A&M, Sandstorm at South Carolina and the running through the “T” at Tennessee,” said Ackels. “The fanfare of an SEC football game is like nothing else you’ll find in sports and it’s our job at SEC Network to find ways to bring it home.”
This is a cool idea, and one that will certainly appeal to some college football fans. It sounds like there are going to be plenty of broadcasts of these, too; the ESPN release contains links to performances from Georgia, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Missouri and Auburn.
Switching from the game feed over to this SEC Network+ product when halftime strikes may take some adjusting at first, and not everyone’s going to do that; there’s certainly still a place for traditional halftime studio shows on the main broadcast networks. Still, it’s neat to see ESPN trying this and offering this service for the fans that do want it (while promoting SEC Network+ along the way). It will be interesting to see if they get enough numbers to make it worth their while in the long run.
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