And then there were two. Just prior to Thursday's launch of the SEC Network, Mediacom Communications announced it had reached a carriage agreement with ESPN, which left Cablevision and Verizon FiOS as the remaining large service providers without SEC Network deals.
With the deal, Mediacom subscribers, which include viewers in seven SEC states, joined more than 90 million homes across the nation that have access to the SEC Network.
Mediacom, which is the eighth-largest cable operator in the nation, said the launch of SEC Network “highlights a larger, long-term deal between Mediacom and The Walt Disney Company, the details of which will be announced in the coming days.”
The deal included TV Everywhere content with authenticated Mediacom subscribers gaining access to additional live events scheduled for the SEC Network’s digital platforms – including 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.
"Our cable systems in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee are located in the heart of SEC country,” said Ed Pardini, senior vice president of operations for Mediacom. "By launching the SEC Network, we will bring even more live college sports action to SEC alumni and fans.”
The SEC Network’s debut was slated for 6 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The season-opening SEC Conference football game between Texas A&M and South Carolina will be broadcast Aug. 28.
"With the launch just hours away, this is great news for all of Mediacom’s customers,” said Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks senior vice president, affiliate sales. “Mediacom is a valuable addition to the overall footprint and we look forward to serving their customers and fans of the SEC."
Cable operators are reportedly paying $1.40 per moth per subscriber in the 11 states that comprise the SEC Conference, and $0.25 per month in all other states.
The SEC Network 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. The network will be an all-access pass to nationally competitive events, news and information, expert analysis, classic games and in-depth features.
Last year The Southeastern Conference and ESPN announced a 20-year agreement to operate the SEC Network.