What does that mean for us with the SEC game of the week? Remains to be seen, as ESPN is currently negotiating with the various school's local content providers to acquire rights to one football game a year, as well as a number of basketball, baseball, and non-rev sporting events:
Such a channel eventually will become a cash cow for the conference. But the SEC will have to spend some money first to regain control over all of its live games. CBS and ESPN have the first pick of football games. Those games that are not picked fall into the schools’ local TV rights or third-tier rights package.
As part of the conference’s current arrangement, each team is permitted to televise one football game each season on pay-per-view. Some schools take advantage of that and others don’t. A pay-per-view game at one of the top SEC schools can generate around $750,000 for the rights holder.So...what does that really mean? Well, Georgia has routinely used the PPV game (I'm guessing this year's PPV will be Georgia Southern). The rest of the games have been split up between the SEC's primary packages (CBS and the ESPN networks) and other packages (Fox and CSS). It remains to be seen what impact ESPN having rights to all of the games means for the Fox and CSS broadcasts, but it isn't hard to see the SECNetwork Chanel having another game or two, not competing with the 3:30 CBS broadcast (meaning more night games), with no more PPV games. The key will be getting the SECNetwork into enough households to work.
One other interesting thing that will likely come out of this revolves around Comcast's earlier offer to partner with ESPN. Comcast is the largest cable service provider in the SEC footprint, so ESPN's interest in getting the new SECNetwork Channel into those markets provides Comcast some leverage for ensuring they don't get completely cut out of their CSS games. It wouldn't surprise me to see them working to make that happen in order to get the new channel on Comcast's basic tier.