One for all and all for one.

If you’re looking for the canary in the coal mine as to whether the oft-rumored SEC TV network will ever make it off the ground, well, there may be 100 million of them.

The University of Florida and Fox‘s Sun Sports have signed a media rights deal that is not only one of the most lucrative in the country, but also could end the likelihood of an SEC channel being created any time soon.

The deal will pay Florida’s marketing arm, the University Athletic Association, roughly $10 million a year for the next 10 years. Florida, one of the Southeastern Conference’s most marketable schools, was one of the few major colleges that handled many of its marketing and media rights in-house.

The deal also could be a sign that an SEC channel — modeled after the Big Ten Network — is not in the offing, industry analysts speculated. While the deal itself would not preclude the SEC from creating a channel, its timing, just weeks before the conference picks its new TV partners, suggests that such a channel is unlikely.

Needless to say, that’s a lot of money for a local program.  And it’s not the kind of deal you’re gonna see, say, Mississippi State strike any time soon.  But that doesn’t mean the conference will step in to level the playing field.

The deal between Florida and Sun Sports “could be an indicator that an SEC network is no longer in play,” said one TV analyst, who asked not to be identified. “The timing certainly is interesting, isn’t it?”

The SEC has the ultimate authority over the local rights of the schools, so it could conceivably commandeer those rights if it decided to launch a network. But the schools that already enjoy significant revenue from their local TV arrangements — Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU — might be hard-pressed to see the value in a conference network.

Those local TV packages typically include tape-delayed or pay-per-view football games, as well as less-attractive nonconference basketball games.

Some TV analysts believe that schools with their own local TV packages should resist the creation of a network that would take over ownership of those rights.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

3 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

3 responses to “One for all and all for one.

  1. This is great news and exactly along the lines of what I hope to see. I’m not particularly hot on Conference-TV…I really don’t care about watching Mississippi State volleyball and the like.

    Regional networks are most appealing to me. Cross conference lines. Sun will dominate the Florida schools, but a network based in Atlanta could reasonably cover Georgia, Tech, and maybe the South Carolina and/or Alabama schools.

    Some obvious contenders are SportsSouth and CSS. CSS has more live broadcasts it seems, but they are in a bind because they are cable-only (and that seems non-negotiable based on ownership).

  2. HVL DAWG

    As a bulldog living in a foreign country (North Carolina), I like the idea of SEC TV available nationally. Tape delayed games on Sport South Atl won’t cover enough of the bulldog nation.

  3. NM

    I agree with HVL, especially as someone about to leave this state for a few years. Still, though, if UF can get that kind of coin, it seems that FSN South, Sportsouth or both (same owner as each other and Sun) could put similar amounts of money in Georgia’s pocket, which I would welcome. Seriously, does Sportsouth show anything other than Braves and Hawks games? They’ve got to need some programming.

    I don’t know what CSS pays, but it seems to me we should demand something like what Florida gets. True, the state of Fla. is bigger, population-wise, but it’s also divided among three big teams, plus lots of medium/small teams, plus lots of old folks that like Wisconsin or something… whereas Georgia competes with maybe Tech in-state. We should be pursuing this, if SEC-TV is DOA.