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SEC, ESPN Agree to 10-Year Exclusive Contract for Football, Basketball Rights

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2020

SEC Championship logo on the field during the Southeastern Conference Championship NCAA college football game against the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 in Atlanta. (Ric Tapia via AP)
Ric Tapia/Associated Press

The SEC announced a new 10-year agreement with ESPN to produce college football and basketball games on ABC and ESPN:

Southeastern Conference @SEC

The @SEC and @ESPN have finalized a milestone 10-year agreement that grants ABC and ESPN exclusive broadcast rights to premier SEC football and basketball events beginning in 2024-25 and continuing through 2033-34. Full release » https://t.co/GR1KFCCPBI. https://t.co/uncJ68RmZb

The new agreement gives First Tier rights to The Walt Disney Company, putting top games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN+ as well as the SEC Network, which was already a branch of ESPN. 

It also allows ABC to replace CBS as the expected home of Saturday afternoon college football games.

ABC will also cover the SEC Championship Game, while more marquee basketball games will be nationally televised.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey spoke about the new agreement in a statement:

"This is a significant day for the Southeastern Conference and for the future of our member institutions. Our agreement with ESPN will greatly enhance our ability to support our student-athletes in the years ahead and to further enrich the game day experience for SEC fans around the world. The broadcast industry's intense and widespread interest in securing the SEC's First Tier rights is a direct reflection of the sustained excellence achieved by our 14 member schools, and we are thrilled to have been able to maximize our current position of strength to benefit our student-athletes, the fans who go to our games and home viewers."

The biggest difference for the SEC is potential revenue from the new deal.

According to Tony Barnhart of the SEC Network, the new agreement could be worth more than $300 million per year for the conference. The current CBS contract was worth $55 million per year.

Sports Business Journal also projected ESPN to pay in the "low $300 million range annually."

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