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May 2, 2013

The (new) SEC Network is born

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ATLANTA | The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have announced a 20-year agreement to create and operate a 24-hour network dedicated to league athletics.

Commissioner Mike Slive said Thursday that the network, which will launch in August 2014, will televise at least 1,000 live events each year. That includes approximately 45 football games, more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games and a smattering of content from Olympic sports.

"The SEC Network will provide an unparalleled fan experience of top quality SEC content presented across the television network and its accompanying digital platforms," Slive said. "We will increase exposure of SEC athletics programs at all 14 member institutions, as we showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league. The agreement for a network streamlines and completes an overall media rights package that will continue the SEC's leadership for the foreseeable future."

The network will televise all SEC championships aside from football, which will continue to be broadcast by CBS. Financial terms related to the SEC's latest venture weren't disclosed.

AT&T U-verse already has signed on as the network's first distributor, though ESPN president John Skipper said his organization already is in negotiations with a wide array of providers. ESPN said it will cover the SEC "in an objective manner," but maintains that the network's top priority is to represent the conference and its 14 member institutions.

The network, which will be based in Charlotte, N.C., will allow subscribers to access live content through a variety of platforms including tablets, PCs and game consoles.



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