SEC TV Network Launch Is Great Move for NCAA's Top Conference

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJune 23, 2016

July 17, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA;  SEC commissioner Mike Slive speaks at a press conference during the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel.   Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports
Kelly Lambert

Football rules in America, and therefore the Southeastern Conference rules college sports.

The SEC is hands-down the best conference in college football; the last seven BCS national champions have come from the SEC. So, it only makes sense that the dominating conference would launch a national television network to showcase its beloved product to more people more often.

According to Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal, "The conference and ESPN will make a formal announcement on the yet-to-be-named SEC channel, which will launch in August 2014."

With seemingly all of the other major conferences utilizing national television networks to rake in cash, it was only a matter of time before the SEC jumped in. And who can blame them? 

It's a brilliant move for a conference that routinely dominates college football and produces national champions and top-notch professional athletes.

Clearly, there's a demand for the SEC's brand of football in addition to other sports. Meeting that demand with this new network is a smart money move, and it's sure to turn into a powerhouse channel with ESPN teaming up to assist.

Here's a look at the SEC's current television profit (h/t Orlando Sentinel's Matt Murschel):

The SEC's current television rights deal with ESPN and CBS pays the league $205 million annually, which breaks down to $14.6 million per school. While financial details of this new deal were not released, it's likely the payday will be much larger.

More so than the gains perhaps, there's simply nothing to lose by launching a network similar to those like the Big 12 Network and Pac-12 Network, which have already achieved success of their own.

The SEC's dominance in college athletics—from the gridiron to the hardwood—cannot be overstated. The conference breeds national champions and star athletes, making it arguably the most recognizable conference in America.

While the SEC's eventual announcement of this move is news, it's hardly anything we shouldn't have seen coming. The opportunity to offer more live programming for fans is too good to pass up. Especially with so much talent and entertainment to put on display. 

The SEC boasts the back-to-back defending BCS national champion in Alabama as well as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel. No other conference has come close to contending with the SEC on the football field in recent years, almost requiring that it develop its own national network.


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