Bright House Sports Network Celebrates First Birthday With Multiyear SEC Pact

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Bright House Sports Network gave itself and its subscribers a birthday of sorts, inking a deal with ESPN Regional Television for a host of Southeastern Conference sporting events.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, gives the regional sports network -- reaching subscribers in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Birmingham, Ala. markets -- the rights to SEC football, basketball and baseball games, as well as other sports, through the 2013-14 school year. Bright House Sports Network, which launched on Sept. 17, 2008, kicks off its SEC pact with coverage of the Sept. 19 football game in which Ole Miss hosts Southeastern Louisiana.

The RSN also inked a renewal of its pact with the Big East Conference through the 2012-13 school year, under which it will continue to air University of South Florida football and men's basketball contests.

"Bright House Networks is thrilled to be able to offer its customers exclusive games from the Big East and SEC Conferences," said Elliott Wiser, vice president, corporate news and local programming, in a statement. "September 17th marks the one-year anniversary of Bright House Sports Network, and this is the perfect way to celebrate this milestone. We are the leader in local sports in the Central Florida and Tampa Bay areas, and now, with the addition of market-exclusive SEC games, we're bringing exceptional added value to all of our viewers."

As part of its contract with ESPN Regional Television, BHSN will also sponsor the Old Spice Classic, an early- season basketball tournament set for Nov. 26-29 at Walt Disney World near Orlando, as well as two bowl games, the St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 19 and the Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham on Jan. 2, 2010.
The sponsorships will encompass exposure for BHSN at the facilities, relative to in-venue signage, promos on video boards and positions in programs and other materials, according to Wiser.
ESPN Regional Television, yesterday, reached a similar deal with Cox Sports Television for various SEC sports fare, kicking off this fall. During the current school year, CST will presents at least 92 conference events.
Last spring, ESPN Regional Television scored a five-year syndication deal with Comcas/Charter Sports Southeast for SEC games, covering a minimum of six football games, 20 men's basketball contests, 16 women's hoops tilts, as well as 50 Olympics sporting events annually, beginning with the 2009-10 academic year.

ESPN secured the regional rights to the SEC content as part of a comprehensive 15-year, $2.25 billion agreement with the conference reached in August 2008.

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