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August 25, 2008

ESPN Pays $2.25 BILLION for SEC TV Rights

This story is developing. According to Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, ESPN has agreed to pay the SEC $2.25 billion over the next 15 years for all remaining TV rights not currently owned by CBS. Per Sports Business Journal
Combined with the 15-year, $55 million a year that the SEC will receive from CBS for the over-the-air package of games (SportsBusiness Journal, Aug. 18-24), the conference will bring in an average of $205 million annually in media rights beginning in 2009-10 and running through fiscal 2025.

That’s nearly three times what the SEC had been receiving in TV revenue as part of its current deal, which runs out next spring. That amounted to around $70 million per year.
The deal is staggering in its nature, but the much bigger news relates to Comcast and ESPNU. Those two entities appear close to reaching a deal which would put ESPNU on 7 million additional Comcast basic cable packages.

According to Wes Durham on 790theZone this morning and confirmed via the Comcast news linked above, ESPN will use the new SEC deal to bring ESPNU into the mainstream. A likely SEC TV schedule next year (during a typical week) would be:
    Best Game: CBS at 3:30 pm
    2nd Pick: ESPN at 7:45 pm
    3rd Pick: ESPN2 night game
    4th Pick: ESPNU 12:00 or 12:30
The move is a massive blow to ESPN-SEC Conspiracy Theorist who believe that the World Wide Leader doesn't promote SEC teams because they don't have enough of a financial vested interest. Even the most cynical viewers would have to say that $2.25 billion would force the ESPN talking heads to give our teams their props.

With this cash infusion, we could essentially buy out Georgia Tech and sell their program for spare parts.

This deal has been executed about 10x more effectively than Jim Delany's Big 10 TV deal. Also, the last Notre Dame / NBC contract was rumored to be worth $9 million a year. Their recent extension of the deal to 2015 doesn't have announced terms. But how much better can it really be than the $15-17 million per team deal that the SEC teams just inked?

In other words, does Mississippi State now have a more lucrative TV deal than Notre Dame? (ht - Matt at SportsCrack for that question)

More later today.



Crane said...

I suspect all SEC Football gyms to look like a Saddam Hussein Palace after this.

Anonymous said...

Where does that leave Jefferson Pilot/Lincoln Financial/Raycom? Would they get the 5th pick, or just be left out?

Jason said...

My understanding of the agreement is that JP/LF/Raycom will cease broadcasting SEC games. That game would effectively migrate to ESPNU, which is GREAT news for me, because I have ESPNU as a part of my cable package.

SEC Football in SoCal! Woo!

Anonymous said...

Raycom - the article paints them as on the outside looking in. In theory, they could televise games that the ESPN didn't want.

So I guess they could air Miss State vs. Tulane or something. Who knows.

This size of this deal will put the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Bloomberg, etc on the story. It's no longer a regional news story.

Mike said...

ESPN better keep The Daves!!

And bring back Dave Rowe. Have Dave Neal, Dave Archer, and Dave Rowe in the booth with Dave Baker as the sideline reporter.

If ESPN doesn't keep the Daves, I'm going to send them a really harsh e-mail. You don't want that, ESPN. Just do the right thing here> Please.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, read the article anon 10:44AM you moron Georgia fan. Wait till Nov. 15 when we kick your overrated ass.

It says "The deal effectively ends any conversation of a conference network, and it knocks Raycom Sports (formerly Lincoln Financial and Jefferson Pilot) out of the SEC’s distribution business for the first time since 1986, when JP Sports began distributing SEC basketball"

Hobnail_Boot said...

LOVE the new banner up top.

Matt Fairchild ( said...

So essentially football power schools like Vanderbilt and Miss State will be getting as much TV revenue per year as Notre Dame with this new contract.

Now that is funny!

Jason said...

RE: the banner

Is that someone laying the wood on the other Adrian Peterson?

Trying to figure out who the Ga. So player is, and it's bothering me. I thought Peterson wore 3, but I have no idea who that is.

Anyone have any idea what game that's from?

Anonymous said...


I've got custom banners for SC, Bama, UT, and UF so far. I haven't come up with anything for the LSU or GT games yet.

Thanks for noticing.

Anonymous said...

Auburn leads Georgia all time holding a 53-50-8 lead. Just wait till Nov 15. That will be 54-50-8.

Remember that 1900 game we beat your ass 44-0. The 8th worse loss in Georgia history by margin of defeat. 44 points haha. This year we might just take your sorry ass behind the barn for another ass kicking.

Anonymous said...

auburnallen you're annoying

S.A.W.B. said...

Dear 'auburnallen',

Die in a fire.

Anonymous said...

Dear "auburnadam":

For a fan of a team who's gotten whooped two years in a row you sure have a lot of crap to talk.


Please leave now

Anonymous said...

*allen not adam

Anonymous said...

I may be in the minority, but I really hate that ESPN has control over the remaining games cbs doesn't broadcast.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:35 why don't you go back the last ten years instead of the last two. It's tied up 5-5. oh and btw 2004 we whooped you 24-6

Anonymous said...


Are you going to kick our ass just like you were going to kick our ass the last two years?

Q: What do UGA and Auburn students have in common?

A: They both got into Auburn.

Anonymous said...

auburnallen -

"remember the 1900 game..."

are you serious? get a life man. find someplace else to troll.

Anonymous said...

auburnallen. Sorry man, this is not that type of board. Go back to the message board with this crap. If you want to rip on UGA here just be clever about it and most people will appreciate it. But the lack of dumb redneck Sh_t talking is one of the reasons why I enjoy the comments on this blog. You are offering NOTHING to this discussion.

Anonymous said...

Meet Herschel Walker The Georgia Bulldogs hero


Anonymous said...

anon 11:47 I got two for ya

Q: What's the only sign of intelligent life in Athens?

A: Auburn: 187 Miles

Q. What did the Georgia graduate say to the Auburn graduate?

A. "Welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order, please?"

Anonymous said...

U.S. News Undergraduate University Rankings:
But hey, you are only 16 spots behind the Colorado School of Mines and 13 spots behind Bama.

2007 Football
UGA: 45
Auburn: 20
In this contest the higher score is a good thing though.

UGA grads don't hate Auburn, it is a great back-up school option if you can't get in to big-boy College.

Anonymous said...

I thought for sure there would be several posts about how this would guarantee us a yearly visit from Gameday.

This is great news, guys. ESPN and CBS are far and away the best at broadcasting college football. Their production equipment is just so much better. Plus, ESPN replays games all the time. So if you missed a UGA game on ESPN, chances are you'll get to see it again on ESPNU or ESPN Classic over the next few days and further in the future.

Plus, there's a really good chance ESPN will add at least a couple more channels to their portfolio in the next fifteen years. So the chances of a UGA game being on TV only increases.

Anonymous said...

damn auburnallen get a life

Anonymous said...

Now to return to the topic here...
One thing you don't mention Paul is what appears to be an increased presence for ESPN in SEC basketball. Having our conference finals, and if I'm reading the last lines of that article correctly, more regular season SEC games on ESPN and their "family" of networks, especially if ESPN U is starting to make headway towards legitimacy, could do a great job raising the profile of the conference in its red-headed stepchild of roundball (which gets absolutely no respect compared to the Pac 10, Big East, Big 10, and ACC despite having numerous national titles the past 15 years).

Also, is there a chance ESPN U plays a lower level evening game at the same time a game is on ESPN or ESPN2? I think CBS has to be exclusive at 3:30, but could we see more than 4 SEC games televised on a weekend where we have more than 4 games of interest?

Anonymous said...

For LSU, may I suggest McClendon blocking the punt in the championship game.

blackertai said...

Gawd D*mn! That's a lot of money. I'm completely stunned by this turn of events. I mean, who would have known ESPN even had the ability to fork out 1 billion in this economic downturn. We're robbing them blind (or, alternately, we're giving them a really good deal on the NFL-lite).

Wow. That's a hunk of cash. With this kind of money even Vandy can afford an athletic department.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Even the most cynical viewers would have to say that $2.25 billion would force the ESPN talking heads to give our teams their props.

Heh, I was thinking the same thing. "Look, Herbie, you're a great guy and we know you've got a lot of school pride, but we've sunk a ton of money into the Georgia-Auburn game this weekend, so you think you could back off on fellating the Buckeyes this weekend just long enough to talk about how great the Dawgs are?"

Actually, that's kind of unfair, since (in my observation at least) Herbstreit isn't nearly as bad about that as some other guys are. On that note, though, Mark May has to be fearing for his job right about now.

Anonymous said...

Doug, from your mouth to God's ears.

Actually, if Mike Slive were smart he would've demanded the firing of Mark May before signing that deal.

I can dream, can't I?

Anonymous said...

Now thats some serious "F You" money.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Doug, re: Mark May

I don't see how this will stop him from smarmily fellating the Gators.

Anonymous said...

Here's the details.....

ESPN and ESPN2 will continue to offer premier SEC games, including Saturday night and two primetime Thursday football games, triple the basketball offerings with three nights (two new) of men’s basketball and present SEC Championships in women’s basketball, baseball, softball and gymnastics.
ESPN Regional Television will become the new over-the-air syndication home for SEC football and basketball games. In addition, ESPN and the SEC will work together to offer multi-sport packages (including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships) of SEC content for regional cable syndication.
ESPNU will now offer exclusive SEC telecasts, including football and basketball and selected conference championships. In addition, the network will present a weekly, hour-long program on SEC sports throughout the academic year as well as sport-by-sport previews, reviews and specials.
The semifinals and championship of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be televised nationally for the first time on ESPN on ABC.
All SEC championship games except football will be aired on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPNU or ESPN Classic.
The agreement will also showcase the academic successes of SEC student-athletes by including twice-annual programs dedicated to academic accomplishments of SEC student-athletes; an annual Campus Connection (students take part in the production) telecast at each SEC institution; a weekly segment on an SEC show featuring academics; and an online SEC Academic Network utilizing technology.
Extensive coverage of women’s basketball and Olympic sports will be offered nationally through ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU and regionally through ESPN Regional Television, including both regular-season and conference championships.
Comprehensive multimedia rights are also an integral part of the agreement as live SEC action, including football and basketball, will be offered via simulcasts on and ESPN Mobile TV and extensive content rights have been granted to
ESPN International, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes will also feature the SEC.
Each SEC institution retains the right to continue a local multi-media rights package.

Anonymous said...

THE, auburnallen, THE.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Auburnallen has a job, typical of many Auburn graduates. I like Auburn though, it allows people who didn't get into UGA to still be able to experience SEC football.

Anonymous said...

You know you are better than the Big 10 when 1) you use someone else's network instead of having to create your own, 2) the network you are using is already the world's largest sports network, 3) oh, and they PAY YOU billions. Also, we can complain about the on-air talent, but the production quality at the WWL (and CBS, too) is first-rate. This is a huge win for SEC football fans. The Big 10's Delaney just got his butt handed to him. He still has to hear complaints from fans who can't get the Big 10 network. Once Comcast adds ESPNU, the SEC won't be fielding complaints about distribution.

Anonymous said...

Right now, Jim Delaney is wearing a shirt that reads, "I wanna be like Mike (Slive)."

Hobnail_Boot said...

I agree w/ the above statement, but let me say this about the Big Ten.

They've done a series leading up to the season where they spend a day at each team's practice and give a much more in-depth look than 'returning starters + 'crootin = winz!'.

Not that I really needed to know that much about Michigan State's depth at Guard, but damnit I'd love to see something similar for the SEC.

Anonymous said...

We will see preview shows on each SEC team on the WWL that will be more in-depth than what we see on FSN now. I think the article about the ESPN deal mentioned that. Maybe I'm a little too excited about this, but I think what we'll see is going to crush the Big 10. You don't pay $2+ billion just to broadcast games. I predict the other conferences will be complaining that ESPN is the SEC Network.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of surprised that the Big 10 Network even exists after the NFL Network ran into the troubles it did. This isn't the 18th Century. Mercantilism is dead. Let the TV people handle the TV stuff and stick with what you do best.

Mike in Mayretta said...


Exactly! Delaney is too self-important to realize this. 15 years is a long time. There might actually be an ESPN "The Ocho" before this end of this contract. Maybe it will be all SEC, all the time. Barnhart mentioned in a blog that the three most important things in creating an SEC network were distribution, distribution, and distribution. Big 10 Net might have some interesting shows, but I'm willing to bet only the hardcore sports fans will think to look there for content. You scroll through your online guide without tripping over the ESPN family. Don't get me wrong - I agree with a lot of you regarding the on-air talent. Strictly from a distribution standpoint the SEC is now the dominant force in college football.

Anonymous said...

"Is that someone laying the wood on the other Adrian Peterson?

Trying to figure out who the Ga. So player is, and it's bothering me. I thought Peterson wore 3, but I have no idea who that is.

Anyone have any idea what game that's from?"


I am going to take a stab at this...

Adrian Peterson wore #3, so that's not him. I am guessing this photo is from our game with GA Southern in 2004. That looks like Lynon Jefferson, who was a receiver and wore #31. It's hard to get much on who our guy is, but the second number looks like a 3 or an 8. Since Jefferson was a receiver, I am guessing that's Tim Jennings who wore #23 and would have had several opportunities to tackle Jefferson.

Otherwise, it might be Will Thompson, who wore #58. But the player looks too small to be Thompson.

Anonymous said...

Almost sure the UGA player is Thomas Davis and its 2004. The GSU player is definitely #31.

Scott said...

I am sure that this deal won't get Mark May to pull his head out of his @$$!

Anonymous said...

wonder if this deal creates a situation where the big 10 and pac 10 throw up their hands and say uncle? could this lead to a playoff? this could have a huge recruiting effect for the sec. come play on national tv every week. will the others be able to keep up?

Unknown said...

This is great news because I have espnu as part of my satellite package. I assume the cable deals want mess up the satellite deals with espnu. Comcast does not come into my area of North Carolina. Sicum DAWGS

Mike in Mayretta said...

Check out these tidbits from Barnhart's article on

- Will there be more SEC football games on television? Decidedly more.

- Any other goodies for the SEC besides the money? All national programming on ESPN will be branded as the “SEC on ESPN.” Why is that important? Recruiting, my friend. No other conference will be so branded on television.

This is a great day for SEC football fans.

Anonymous said...

It's official, the SEC is bigger than the friggin' NFL!!

Anonymous said...


The reason I ruled out Thomas Davis is because of the number you can slightly see on the front of the jersey. We all know Davis wore #10. That doesn't look like the bottom of a 1 on the front, but it's hard to tell for sure.

Anonymous said...


I just found the original. You're right. It's Tim Jennings.

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