With less than one month left until the SEC Network kicks off its college football coverage, ESPN and Comcast announced this morning that a deal had been reached.
Striking a deal with the nation’s largest cable operator and ISP is a watershed moment for the SEC Network, but it still needs to sign off on deals with Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV, among others. Cox Communications, AT&T, Google Fiber and Dish Network have inked carriage agreements for the SEC Network, as well as smaller service providers such as LUS Fiber, Wilkes Telephone and PTC Communications.
There has been some hand wringing by SEC college football fans in regards to their video service providers striking deals with ESPON before the network launches Aug. 14. With Comcast onboard, the SEC Network will be available to 46 million households nationwide.
In addition to the games, Comcast subscribers have authenticated access to additional live events scheduled for the SEC Network’s and Comcast’s digital platforms – including the Xfinity TV Go app and website, WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com – with the ability to watch SEC Network live and on-demand content anytime, anywhere on their television, computer, tablet or mobile device.
“We are extremely pleased to have reached this agreement with ESPN to deliver the SEC Network to Xfinity TV customers on multiple platforms,” said Matt Strauss, senior vice president and general manager, video services, Comcast Cable. “Whether in the home or on the go, Xfinity TV customers will be able to watch their favorite Southeastern Conference teams in more ways than ever before.”
The SEC Conference features some of the best college football teams in the nation, including Alabama, LSU and Georgia. The SEC Network and its accompanying digital offering will air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, including at least 45 exclusive SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games and events across all of the SEC’s 21 sports. In addition to the games, the network will provide news and information, expert analysis, classic games and in-depth features on the SEC.
“With more than three weeks still to go before launch, we are pleased to add Comcast, the largest cable television distributor in the country, to the growing list of providers that will bring the SEC Network to millions of fans nationwide,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.
Last year The Southeastern Conference and ESPN announced a 20-year agreement to operate the SEC Network. The first SEC Network game is South Carolina at Texas A&M on Aug. 28.
“We’re thrilled to have Comcast on board as a distributor for the launch of the SEC Network on August 14,” said Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president, college networks. “Across the country, Comcast’s Xfinity customers will have access to all of the great content and coverage from the SEC Network. We continue to gain momentum for a successful launch across a wide range of affiliated providers.”