Published September 19, 2012 - 8:09pm
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Sports Business Daily is reporting that the SEC and ESPN are very close to coming to agreement on a new SEC channel.
One of the main pieces left to be resolved is the conference buying back the rights to some of the SEC sports inventory that had previously been contracted out to other parties. The inventory includes one football game per school, approximately six to eight basketball games per schools and a variety of non-revenue sports such as baseball and soccer. CBS, Learfield and IMG College currently hold the rights to this inventory.
When the Pac-12 launched its own network, it went through a similar process, buying back the rights for some of its inventory for a reported $100 million paid out over eight years.
Sports Business Daily says that the SEC deal will likely be even bigger since SEC games are more valuable television inventory.
Also part of the deal will be ESPN taking over the marketing rights for the SEC. This means that one party will then be selling TV advertisements with SEC corporate sponsorships.
The dedicated SEC channel is definitely coming, and it will be a major asset for the conference. While the conference is behind other conferences like the Big Ten and the Pac-12, it could turn out to be an advantage as the SEC has significant leverage in holding out for the right deal.
One area that I’m very curious about – which we’ve talked about here at SDS – is the nine-game conference schedule. We’ve suggested that jumping from eight to nine games could be a major negotiation point in launching the SEC channel. The extra conference game would be a significant increase in potential revenue.
We’ll keep our eye on the developments.