Thursday, August 6, 2009

SEC television answers

By A. Boggs - We’ve gotten a few questions about some of the logistics of the SEC’s new television deal with ESPN. Hopefully, these answers will be able to help you find the Commodores on a television set this fall.

Will every VU game be on television? In the SEC footprint, you’ll be able to watch every game on one of these channels: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, the SEC Network (see tentative list here), Fox Sports Net, Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS), or on a pay-per-view basis (each school gets to designate one game on their schedule for pay-per-view if they choose). If you’re outside the footprint, you’ll be able to get the games on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU for sure. The SEC Network is also expanding into markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and many other major markets, with the list growing almost on a daily basis. You may be able to get those games. And if you’re outside the footprint, you won’t be getting the FSN South or CSS games. However, every game on the SEC Network, FSN South, CSS, and the pay-per-views will be available on ESPN360 or on the network’s GamePlan package.

One marquee game per week? That’s all up in the air right now, but it looks like there will be many. Here’s the listing of the first three weeks of games and their television outlets.

In the first week alone, if you live in New York, you’ll be getting seven SEC games on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU. And for the other five, if you have ESPN360 or you buy the GamePlan package, you can watch them all! Or, if a local station near you is a part of the SEC Network, you will get those telecasts on that over-the-air channel. Notice the primetime nature of the games – that will be a staple of most weeks during the season.

What time are the games? There are three games that are set in stone – the SEC Network telecast, which will take place at 12:21 Eastern time; after September 19, a CBS game at 3:30 Eastern time; and a 7 p.m. Eastern time game on ESPNU. The rest will, in all likelihood, be primetime games on ESPN, ESPN2, CSS, or FSN South.

Will CBS offer live streaming of games? From all that we’ve seen and heard, that practice will continue, just like 2008.

And, as mentioned before, if you live outside of the SEC footprint and have ESPN360 or GamePlan, you will get to watch every football game in the SEC this season.

See this article from Stewart Mandel of for an analysis of how big this deal really is.

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