Report: SEC football leaving CBS after 2023 season
It appears the days of the “SEC on CBS” are numbered. Sports Business Journal Daily is reporting that CBS is walking away from the bidding war for the package after the 2023 season.
According to John Ourand and Michael Smith, CBS’s bid was in the neighborhood of $300 million per year to broadcast the weekly top conference game. The network pays $55 million per year under the current agreement. The bidding is now “well over” $300 million according to the report.
“We made a strong and responsible bid. While we‘ve had success with the SEC on CBS, we are instead choosing to aggressively focus on other important strategic priorities moving forward,” CBS Sports PR told SBJ.
SBJ indicates that ESPN/ABC is now in the “final stages” of negotiating a deal, even though the report notes that FOX Sports was still planning to make a bid presentation at SEC headquarters in Birmingham.
According to the report, ESPN won the SEC over by pitching more creative scheduling by owning all the rights:
With ESPN owning all of the SEC’s football rights, it’s possible that more than one game will be produced for broadcast TV; more top-tier games can be moved to primetime; and the conference can schedule more late afternoon games without having to worry about running into CBS’ exclusive window.
As of right now, CBS is set to air SEC games for the next four seasons, but the report states it is possible that the SEC or ESPN/ABC could buy out CBS’s remaining years.
Obviously, SEC fans everywhere will be following the developments in the negotiations. For now, it appears CBS is officially out of the bidding war.