Maybe it’s just the contrarian in me, but I’m not sure what the point of the SEC starting its own TV network is. Sure, the Mountain West and the Big Ten have their shiny new toys, but there’s a big difference between those two conferences and the SEC: only the latter has a national TV contract. Why give that up to migrate to pay TV? Especially when you consider that…
The league had 48 conference football games last season. All but nine were broadcast live by their current TV partners. [Emphasis added.] The SEC made $43 million from televised football last season.
Keep in mind that’s coming off of contracts that expire after this year. What do you figure the odds are that the new contracts blow past the $7 million per year each team in the Big Ten gets under their contracts? Particularly considering that the you-know-what wants to get in the hen house, so to speak.
A number of suitors have indicated that they would be more than willing to help the SEC with its distribution issues. Atlanta-based FSN South, which also owns SportSouth, already has the infrastructure in place as it reaches 21 million homes in SEC territory.
“I will simply say that we are interested in discussing whatever TV model the SEC decides to pursue,” said Jeff Genthner, the senior vice-president of FSN South.
Slive is certainly in an enviable position – “stay tuned”, indeed.
On the other hand, the Orlando Sentinel’s Tim Stephens urges Slive to think big. Really big.