The SEC Network will launch with a national audience this August. The SEC and broadcast partner ESPN have struck a deal with DISH to carry the brand new network nationally when the network flips the switch on August 14. With the deal in place, DISH is the first nationwide provider of the network. DISH is also adding The Longhorn Network to its nationwide coverage under a package deal with Walt Disney Company.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, “More than five months ahead of the network launch, it’s exciting to have a national distributor and our first satellite provider onboard. Now SEC fans from across the country have another way to show their conference pride and sign up to get the SEC Network.”
The SEC Network now has a major hurdle cleared leading up to the launch of the sports network prior to the 2014 college football season, but there will be more to come. Battles with cable providers will still have to be hashed out, and sometimes those battles linger a little longer. Demand for the network in the SEC’s footprint will be high of course, as the network will be airing some games exclusively on the network.
The SEC Network also has a higher potential customer base than the Longhorn Network, which has been fighting a number of other battles since it was launched in 2011. The network had been carried by only a small percentage of providers, but adding a national carriage partner will finally help boost the advantages of the Longhorn Network that were initially expected for the Texas program. Last August the Longhorn Network was picked up by Time Warner Cable, which was a significant milestone for the network.