When the big wigs from the Southeastern conference convened for their annual meeting earlier last month, there was more going on that passing around the millions upon millions of dollars they got from the BCS, TV deals, and other revenues, the big bad good ol' boys from the deep south had a quandary: What if we had our own network? The conference that has produced the last two BCS National Champions and more national prestige and recognition that any other conference getting their own channel!!!! My my my, the possibilities and the problems. With the Big Ten and Mountain West already having their own networks combined with the expiring TV cotracts with CBS and ESPN, it's no surprise that the SEC wants in on the action. This IS the same conference who originally proposed the idea of the BCS, the same conference who was the first to have a football championship game, and the same conference who just last week had two teams make the Women's College World Series. Now they want a piece of the action with their own 24-hour network. But before we can start singing the praises of the SEC for jumping on board with the Big Ten and Mountain West, we fans must consider the good, the bad, the ugly, and the finances involved if this should come to fruition.
1) More coverage for the lesser sports
When it comes down to it, football and basketball make the SEC run. What about volleyball, college softball, even gymnastics (Alabama and Georgia fans, please thank me later) that do get a sniff of attention till the postseason. With their own network, the SEC can showcase their sports on a regular basis and as such, create more television exposure for those sports that normally don't get it. Instead of waiting to watch the SEC volleyball championship on Fox Sports insert your region here and perhaps having it being joined in progress or shown at a later time, this gives the conference a chance to have all of their championships shown on TV. In addition, this will give them more exposure to the casual fans who may not know that these sports are being played.
2) No worries about programming
Sometimes when you're on a network showing games, there will be a select few that will whine and complain about how their shows are being pushed back because the game is taking too long. No need for that with their own network. They can dictate what goes on when and if by chance that exciting Ole Miss/Vandybaseball game goes long, you can kick it back to the SEC Network studio for a post game report. By having creative control over WHAT you put on and WHEN you put it on, it gives you a greater sense of freedom. Not to mention with all the classic games played in the conference, you could have a SEC Classic show kinda like what Sun Sports has with their Gridiron Classic series.
1) It's All About the Mon-eyy!!!! (In This Case, How Much They Lose)
The SEC rakes in the dough like Donald Trump when people play at his casinos. So you naturally assume that having your own network would give you even more money right, not so fast. Why would the SEC want to back out of a great relationship they have with ESPN, CBS, and Raycomjust to branch off and do their own thing. Take into account that last year in TV Revenue ALONE, the SEC made 68 million dollars (or 5.67 million dollars per school) on their TV deals. While the idea of owning TV rights for ALL of their games is tempting, nothing will beat what they have going on with their current deals. Also consider that the SEC Network will be considered a premium channel on cable and satellite companies. This means that fans will have to pay extra just to see Arkansas/Kentucky cause it's not the SEC on Raycom/Jefferson Pilot game of the week. SEC fans may be die-hard, but they are smart as well.
While both cases for and against the SEC Network are very vaild, only time will tell if and when the rich are ready to get richer. And whether we like it or not, they're gonna make this the best, just like they do in football and basketball.
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