SEC network to launch in August 2014

FAYETTEVILLE — The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multi-platform network, which will launch in August 2014, it was announced today by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and ESPN President John Skipper.

The new network and its accompanying digital platform will air SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the University of Arkansas and the entire Southeastern Conference,” Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said. “The network will provide unprecedented exposure for our program and our university while providing more opportunities for passionate Razorback fans all over the country to watch our student-athletes compete. By partnering with ESPN, the SEC has ensured the nation’s most competitive athletic conference will be able to effectively engage our fans for many years to come.”

The network will televise approximately 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include studio shows, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, signing day and pro days coverage. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform. The network and its digital extensions will connect with each SEC institution and create opportunities for each school to produce and develop content.

“The SEC Network will provide an unparalleled fan experience of top quality SEC content presented across the television network and its accompanying digital platforms,” Slive said. “We will increase exposure of SEC athletics programs at all 14 member institutions, as we showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league. The agreement for a network streamlines and completes an overall media rights package that will continue the SEC’s leadership for the foreseeable future.”

Each weekend throughout the season, the new network will air multiple top-tier matchups from the strongest conference in college football. Since 2006, the SEC has claimed seven consecutive football national championships. Since 1990, the SEC has won 149 national team championships for an average of more than six per year.

“The SEC Network will provide expanded national exposure of the University of Arkansas’ nationally competitive all-sports program allowing us to highlight the success and the inspiring stories of our student-athletes, coaches and fans to a national audience,” Long said. “It will also provide our institution with a dynamic recruiting tool to introduce and educate prospective students, including student-athletes, about the University of Arkansas, the Razorback program and our region of the country.”

As part of the agreement, ESPN will now oversee the SEC’s official Corporate Sponsor Program. In addition, ESPN and the SEC also agreed to extend their existing media rights agreement through 2034. ESPN has televised the SEC since 1982.

ESPN’s existing networks present more than 1,600 hours of SEC action each year. The new network will focus exclusively on the SEC and add another outlet to deliver sports fans more SEC content than ever.

AT&T U-verse has been secured as the network’s first national distributor.