“We appreciate that there is stated interest in extending the relationship from the CBS side.”

Here’s an excellent deep dive into the upcoming negotiations of the SEC television package currently held by CBS.  Just like everything else Mike Slive did with the conference’s broadcast rights, it’s tremendously undervalued, as all parties recognize.

The question is where things go from here.  This is the one of the gentlemen Greg Sankey has tasked with cutting the next deal:

One factor seemingly working in Disney’s favor is CAA super agent Nick Khan. The SEC hired Khan and Evolution Media’s Alan Gold to represent the league in its negotiations with television networks, signaling to many that it wanted a big payday this time around. Khan represents a lot of the sports media world’s biggest names including top ESPN college football talent like Herbstreit, Rece Davis and Paul Finebaum. Khan has done deals with all the major players — he facilitated the WWE deal with FOX and NBC, for instance — but insiders believe he’s been pushing SEC leaders to strongly consider ABC/ESPN. Among the reasoning, he’s pointed out advantages to aligning closer with a growing Disney company that is making big purchases (21st Century Fox) and investing big in over the top platforms (ESPN+ and Disney+) compared to Viacom/CBS which recently combined in a merger expected to be finalized in December.

If continuing to have a national broadcast platform as it currently does with CBS is of value to Sankey — and I think it should be — Mickey can offer ABC to that end and give the SEC more flexibility with scheduling on one giant platform.  Alternatively, some think that cutting a deal to rotate the top game between CBS and ESPN would be a good compromise.

The part I find most interesting is this:

One key factor is how CBS and SEC each interpret the current contract, which was agreed to in 2008. Within the contract is a provision that states, “CBS would have the right of first negotiation/first refusal for at least the same terms for a term commencing in 2024-25 and beyond for football and basketball.” Those terms include selection priority (CBS gets first pick of SEC games), game time and exclusivity, among other factors.

But in a confidential memo obtained by AL.com addressed to the SEC’s presidents and chancellors, Sankey pushed back on the legality of that specific provision.

“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.”

If CBS doesn’t retain the rights, the SEC’s legal counsel won’t be the party with the last word.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, SEC Football

27 responses to ““We appreciate that there is stated interest in extending the relationship from the CBS side.”

  1. Bulldog Joe


    Most-watched TV games this season:

    Notre Dame-UGA

    The SEC has 7 of the top 9. No Big Ten. No ACC. Let the dance begin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stoopnagle

      How much – if any – of the ratings is attributable to the exclusive and consistent window the #1 game in the SEC has with CBS?

      The ABC 3:30 window is already shared between the other conferences (ACC, Pac12, XII and B1G). If the SEC went to Disney (or god forbid Fox), we wouldn’t be their A-1 and only CFB product. That has some value.

      The commercials, though, CBS would run in order to afford to keep the SEC would be… bad.


  2. Russ

    I’d like CBS to keep the contract simply to provide some balance to the ABC/ESPN/Mickey world we’re living in.

    But yeah, get all the money. Those 18kt gold chocolate fountains aren’t going to build themselves. Think of the kids!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      I’d like to keep CBS also, for lots of reasons including the balance issue you point out and I also believe there is a certain tradition with the CBS broadcast. We also know who the CBS team will be – if Disney/ESPN gets it, we’ll get Beth Mowins or worse far too often (hell we already do). But I also agree they don’t need to sell the family cow for less than what it is worth. There’s a reason the SEC is such a great product: the SEC invests in its product, and we need to be able to keep doing that.



    In other news, Belk is done with bowl games. The look on Chubb’s face says it all.


  4. Bright Idea

    Work on that 2 week/6-day option game time window while they’re at it too.


  5. Rival

    Can they work in a provision that CBS improve their streaming quality? It’s night & day compared to ESPN’s stream.


  6. Mick Jagger

    Price of Disney cruises just went up!


    • The other Doug

      “As part of the deal there will be themed cruises for each SEC team and the HC will be required to appear at various functions including a live taping of the Finebaum show….”


  7. JCDawg83

    Commercial break frequency needs to be a part of negotiations with any network the SEC talks to. CBS games have almost become unwatchable in person because of the tv timeouts. The SEC should also demand that Gary Danielson not be allowed to announce any games. His know-it-all attitude and inability to ever stop talking makes me watch the games with the sound muted.


    • Russ

      Commercial time should absolutely be part of the discussion. I’d love to see something like soccer with a running ad during game time, or a screen within a screen, or anything to minimize the disruption to the live game. And for me, I’d like to see it speed up the broadcast.

      Personally, I like Gary and enjoy his insights. I think he’s as balanced as he can be, judging by all the other teams’ fans complaining about how Gary hate their team too.


    • RangerRuss

      Commercial break frequency is an issue which only concerns the fans. The SEC doesn’t give a red piss what the fans want.

      Speaking of red piss? I hope you’re doing better today, Mr Simpson. You five jump chump.


  8. DawgPhan

    I think that it would be a major mistake to take the top game off CBS.

    We talk a lot about the masters experience, and CBS provides that level of production to the top SEC game each week. None of the ESPN or even the ABC prime time game get that level of production.

    Having your best game get the highest levels of production is a big deal.


    • Big difference with the Masters is that the Masters takes less money from CBS in exchange for less commercial time and only from a very small number of advertisers agreed upon with ANGC. CBS may produce the content, but the men and women in the green jackets control CBS with a velvet glove on an iron fist.

      I agree with you about CBS’s quality of production … it’s the best.

      Perfect place for this …


      • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

        Easy for me to say, but my game day experience is positively influenced by that music. When that music plays, you know the game you’re watching is big time. It’s the SEC’s Super Bowl that day, and the excitement, adrenaline pumps because of it.

        Being yet another ESPN game would absolutely lose that experiential viewing, in my opinion. What discount versus ESPN is that worth? no idea. ESPN can drown the SEC in cash because of its ability for free promotions for other content on other networks, driving ratings elsewhere, that improves the bottom line, even if the SEC broadcast loses money. CBS doesn’t quite have that same expanded universe of programming.



    What you guys think the price tag will be?.


  10. Former Fan

    I’ve done “right of first refusal” before and from what I understand they are pretty iron clad. Hard to see how the SEC gets out of that without some kind of financial payoff. Of course, the most likely answer is that CBS simply will not be willing to pay what ESPN/Disney will pay in which case the point is mute.


  11. TimberRidgeDawg

    Back up the truck Jed…


  12. Tony Barnfart

    If it’s written like most of these (i’m not diving through all the links), then I don’t think there is much to see here outside of a little risk. The SEC can’t shop it until after making good faith negotiations with CBS (so the risk is the SEC won’t firmly know how good/bad the new CBS offer is)……..and/or once the bidding process starts, CBS (under its theory) would have a window of time to match an offer by ABC etc and the SEC would have to accept absent some other strange exceptions.


  13. 92 grad

    I really enjoy the CBS games. Mainly because they preserve the top matchup of the week as a day game, they’re consistent, and are outstanding at minimizing breaks in the action. Espn has way too many clips/breaks/updates on other games and it would get worse if they got our conference. Also, all the top matchups will be night games. Night games are very nice, but not every weekend.


  14. I can’t imagine CBS is going to let one of their prime sports programming properties get away without a huge fight. There is inherent value of that 3:30 exclusive slot on CBS. The schools know it’s a prime slot for what is usually the best game in the country from week to week.


  15. ATL Dawg

    CBS = longer broadcasts and more commercials

    And that’s saying something because football games are too long and have too many commercials no more matter what channel they’re on.


    • ATL Dawg

      Ignore the word “more” in between no and matter. I guess I had that word on the brain talking about CBS and their 4 hours of commercials (with snippets of actual game action throw in here and there).


  16. BuffaloSpringfield

    Please any of the above Mickey vs. CBS does it make a difference ? There is no semblance of a game, it’s ruined and there is no fixing it. Really a Master’s experience would be ideal. We all know ANGC is the only one that can pull that off. Imagine if you can a board of AD’s and Head Coaches setting down with CBS/ESPukeN and and telling them what announcers are acceptable. I don’t feel with the free flowing of $$$$ that having one or two sponsors per quarter…… but the Allstate first down maker with the Outback play of the day. Along with hundreds of others. I tried listening to the Dawgs basketball on radio last night and they can’t announce the game play by play for finding the correct cards to read during play by play.
    There is NO going back….. I’ll find out eventually who wins and I love the Dawgs but seriously taking 4-1/2 out of your Saturday. Guess that’s one reason golf is declining. There is more to do in life than watch 7-10 commercials back to back while interrupting the play of a ballgame. I regret this but it is what it is and there is no turning back.


  17. Macallanlover

    I have no problem with CBS’s product, or the way they handle the broadcast, but they should be punished for what they have done with this last contract period. They have totally raped the SEC publicly, and laughed in their face with the pittance they paid relative to the value of other premiere CFB telecast rights.

    I get that Slive/the schools signed a bad contract, but if CBS was a partner they would have not waited to consider paying more. The Mafia would not have held us to such a bad deal years after the value changed. Kind of like locking you into a high gas price during an energy crisis when you have to have fuel for your business to keep its doors open for the next few days. This is how you treat people you never want to do business with again. Drop them, and move along.


    • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

      This isn’t fair to CBS though. This is the same reason Netflix was able to rise in prominence. They locked in the costs for a product, where the product owners didn’t fully understand the value of the products, which drove massive profits for the party that purchased the rights. Once those agreements expire, you go back to negotiate again in good faith.