Report: One network expected to be biggest challenger for 'SEC on CBS' rights after 2023 season
One of the more interesting sports media stories lately has been the upcoming negotiations by the SEC with CBS and other networks and media companies for the coveted marquee afternoon game.
A recent report from AL.com outlines what’s at stake for the conference and CBS when the current agreement ends after the 2023 season.
CBS has publicly stated it wants to extend the deal, which pays the SEC $55 million annually, reported John Talty. Privately, the network has indicated it would like to have a deal done before the end of 2019. To this point, CBS hasn’t made an official extension offer to the SEC, but deal parameters have been discussed, and the SEC has started getting specific on what it wants.
No matter what, it’s expected to be a lucrative deal. The general expectation is the price will at least be quadruple the current value, with many predicting it to be in the $250-300 million per year range
One key question if a change happens is, would the SEC be willing to give all of its games to one network?
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey declined to go into those specifics but stated he’s taking a long-term view and mentioned presentation, level of exposure and revenue as factors.
“We appreciate that there is stated interest in extending the relationship from the CBS side,” Sankey said.
Sankey said in a confidential memo obtained by AL.com addressed to the SEC’s presidents and chancellors, that the SEC is confident in its legal perspective that CBS won’t have the first right to refuse an offer.
“We believe that we have a good faith obligation to offer to enter into an exclusive negotiation period with CBS,” Sankey wrote, “but do not believe that CBS has any first refusal rights for reasons that can best be addressed by our legal counsel.”
Traditional outlets like Disney, FOX, NBC and Turner Sports plus newcomers such as DAZN are expected to be in the mix. But the toughest competition for the top SEC TV package is expected to be from Disney. Internally, it’s reportedly a major priority, and it would create more flexibility for scheduling games.
One possible solution, according to TV insiders, is the SEC maintains relationships with both partners but rotates the weekly top pick each week between CBS and ESPN. It would be a blow to CBS, but would allow it to stay in the SEC business. ESPN already has similar arrangements with FOX for the Big Ten and Big 12 TV rights.
The expectation is CBS and ABC/ESPN will want the rights individually but the SEC could opt for a route that gives both a piece and lets it maintain some continuity for its fans long accustomed to watching football on those two networks.