We all knew it was coming, and apparently it could be happening sooner rather than later.
According to John Ourand and Michael Smith of the Sports Business Journal, a new channel dedicated to SEC sports could begin as early as 2014. Also of note in the story is the fact that the SEC's addition of Missouri and Texas A&M isn't impressing its television partner at CBS.
From Matt Hayes of the Sporting News:
Don't worry about CBS' reluctance to throw bags of money at the SEC after adding the Tigers and Aggies.
The SEC on CBS is one of the only true national broadcasts in college football (ABC's coverage is still regional). Simply put, the conference expansion isn't a huge deal from CBS' perspective because its SEC games are already on in Missouri and Texas A&M's markets. A nine-game schedule, however, would cause CBS to back up the Brinks truck.
Where expansion will come into play is with the new SEC Network.
The addition of Missouri and Texas A&M wasn't necessarily about fan interest; it was about money. The SEC added 13 percent of the nation's top 31 television markets (Dallas, Houston, St. Louis and Kansas City) just by adding those two schools.
Why is that important? The SEC has significantly broadened its base of potential customers and can now go sell its network to providers in those markets. That's big money for the conference and is the primary reason why Virginia Tech and NC State should be high on the SEC's list if and when the next round of expansion comes.
As the commissioner, Mike Slive's goal for expansion was to expand revenue for the SEC's member institutions, and a cable channel devoted to SEC sports is the way to do it.
It's all starting to come together.