The value of a deal between ESPN and the Southeastern Conference
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The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is announcing a partnership with ESPN today to create a new network focused exclusively on SEC sports. It will likely be one the most lucrative TV deals in college athletics.
In the eyes of many, the SEC is the most powerful and traditional conference in college sports.
“Especially when you think about football, where you have schools like Alabama and Auburn and LSU. Schools that have been national champions over the last several years,” says Ken Shropshire, a sports attorney at Duane Morris LLP.
He says not too long ago, college sports conferences and professional teams would simply sell the rights to games — for a lump sum — to TV networks.
But the new frontier in sports is to start your own channel. The Yankees have one and so do the “Big 10” and “Pac 12” conferences. The reason?
“Well money and a greater war chest for the individual schools in terms of recruiting and otherwise,” Shropshire says.
In other words, they want to cut out the middleman.
John Ourand, a media reporter for Sports Business Daily, says while the money can be good, it’s not always easy.
“This isn’t a slam dunk in terms of the channel getting cable carriage,” he says.
Ourand adds Comcast and Time Warner didn’t carry the Big 10 channel for years, but he says the SEC is probably too big for them to ignore.
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