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SEC Network Announcement Coming in April

The long-awaited unveiling of the league's TV channel is not too far off.

Kelly Lambert

Mike Slive made a major pre-announcement to Yahoo! Sports today regarding the SEC's plans of running its own television channel:

"Our focus for now is on our tournament and the NCAA tournament," [SEC commissioner Mike] Slive said. "We will make a formal announcement about the SEC Network in mid-April."

First reported last May by the Sports Business Journal and informally known as "Project X", the network is the centerpiece of the new TV rights deals that are coming as a result of the league expanding and adding Texas A&M and Missouri. It's likely that we'll finally get news of how much extra (if anything) those two schools are bringing for the CBS and ESPN rights.

The real payday from expansion is likely to come from that network, as the two new schools brought states with large populations into the footprint of the league:

SEC population pie chart

This is an old chart from prior to expansion, so consider "current SEC" to mean "former SEC".

The expectation from the start has been that ESPN would be a major player in it, perhaps going so far as to use the ESPNU studios as the new channel's HQ at least at the beginning. It will be interesting to see how the ownership of it works. The Big Ten Network is jointly-owned by the league and Fox, while the Pac-12 wholly owns its networks. The now-defunct channel for the Mountain West had joint ownership of the league, Comcast, and CBS, while the Longhorn Network also has triple ownership in the form of the university, ESPN, and IMG College.

In any event, we don't have too long to wait to find out the details of the channel that will bring us around-the-clock SEC coverage.