ESPN has tackled a distribution deal with Comcast ahead of the kickoff of the freshman season of its SEC Network.
The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, encompasses Comcast’s entire national footprint, including the 11 states that house the Southeastern Conference’s 14 school members.
With Comcast in tow, plus deals with charter affiliate AT&T U-verse, Dish Network and Cox, as well as Google Fiber and a number of other smaller providers, the SEC Network at this point would be available to 46 million homes when it kicks off on Aug. 14.
Under the pact, SEC Network, which will televise some 1,000 event during its first year, will be available on Comcast’s digital starter package within the 11 SEC states, including South Carolina, where the nation’s top distributor has a relatively small presence. Outside of the conference footprint, SEC Network will be housed on Comcast’s digital preferred offering. The network's schedule includes 45 football games from the nation's preeminent collegiate pigskin conference, whose reign of seven consecutive national championships ended when Auburn (pictured) lost to Florida States in the waning moments of the final BCS title tilt.
ESPN “continues to engage in very active conversations with all of the leading distributors ahead of the launch,” said a spokeswoman on Friday morning, when asked about where negotiations stood with DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS.
The worldwide leader reportedy has been seeking monthly affiliate fees of $1.30 to $1.40 per subscriber for the SEC Network within the conference's footprint, and a quarter in the rest of the country.
In addition to providing the forthcoming linear service across its entire footprint, Comcast subscribers will gain authenticated access to additional live events via the college-sports conference’s digital platform, with content available across television sets, computers, tablets and other mobile devices.
“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 at 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.”
Noted Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks senior vice president, affiliate sales, “We are pleased to announce Comcast as our latest distributor for the SEC Network, which continues to attract great demand from consumers across the country and adds significant value for our affiliates leading up to the national network’s launch next month.”