SEC, CBS rework long-term contract
The Southeastern Conference altered its media rights deal with CBS, but no new money is involved. The SEC has a 24-hour network with ESPN.
The terms of the deal are expected to remain intact ($55 million per year until 2023-24), with CBS lifting the exclusive 3:30 p.m. broadcast window so the SEC can air football games on its ESPN-operated channel on Saturdays.
CBS owned exclusive rights to the prime broadcast spot for its “SEC on CBS” game of the week. CBS still picks the top SEC game each week and owns rights to the league championship game in Atlanta.
The SEC Network plans to broadcast three football games per Saturday, so it will be interesting to see which matchups it rolls out during the mid-day swing that CBS enjoys. The SEC will likely aim for high-powered football matchups -- not just third-tier leftovers -- in the first few years of the network and possibly beyond.
SEC spokesman Chuck Dunlap on Tuesday acknowledged the renegotiation included CBS waiving the window exclusivity, which commissioner Mike Slive also mentioned at the SEC Network unveiling on May 2, but added that the league doesn’t comment on financials.
The renegotiation also included the exchange of non-revenue assets that weren't disclosed by a source.
SEC Network, to launch before the 2014 season, is wholly owned by ESPN, which will operate, produce and sell it. ESPN will likely be compensated well for this setup, but the league isn’t releasing financials.
SEC and ESPN officials will comprise a “content committee” to establish SEC Network programming.
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