Seven of the last eight college football championship have been won by a team from the SEC. Kentucky and Florida reached the men’s basketball Final Four, and Tennessee has a legendary women’s basketball program. Vanderbilt won the 2014 baseball College World Series.
With some of the most competitive programs in college sports and some of the most passionate fans in the country, the SEC will now have a stand-alone TV network to showcase its athletic excellence. On Aug. 14 beginning at 6pm ET, The SEC and ESPN partner to launch SEC Network, available from pay-TV providers across the country (check your availability here).
“In terms of national appeal, the extent that anyone is a sports fan — particularly anyone who is a college sports fan — the level of play I think exceeds any other conference, and not just in the Southeast, but across the entire country,” says Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president, programming for college networks.
SEC Network on TV and on its digital platforms will air SEC content 24/7, including more than 1,000 events in its first year: approximately 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and more events from the SEC’s 21 sports. SEC Network will also produce original content like SEC Storied and studio shows, plus coverage of events like spring football games, signing day and pro days.
Subscribers to the SEC Network TV channel will also have access to hundreds of additional live events on SEC Network’s digital platform for televisions, computers, tablets or mobile devices. “We’re going to do an additional 560 or more digital exclusive events from the SEC,” Connolly says. “The only way to get those is to be a subscriber to the network. … All they need is their username and password.”
SEC Football Kickoff On SEC Network
Texas A&M at South Carolina, 6pm ET
Temple at Vanderbilt, 9:15pm ET
Tennessee-Martin at Kentucky, 12pm ET
Arkansas at Auburn, 4pm ET
Southern Mississippi at Mississippi State, 7:30pm ET
Utah State at Tennessee, 7pm ET
What’s On SEC Network
SEC Football On Aug. 28, a doubleheader kicks off live SEC football games on SEC Network, which features six games in the season’s first four days. After more than 20 years at ESPN and ABC, broadcasting legend Brent Musburger will be SEC Network’s lead football play-by-play announcer, teaming up with analyst Jesse Palmer.
SEC Nation This two-hour traveling Saturday morning football pregame show visits all 14 campuses to immerse viewers in the tailgates, culture and traditions at each school. Host Joe Tessitore is joined by analysts Tim Tebow, Paul Finebaum and Marcus Spears. “I think Tim knows the game so well,” Connolly says of Tebow, former Florida and NFL quarterback. “He’s a student of the game. He’s played at the highest levels. He’s competed and won SEC championships and national championships. I think it’s hard to find someone who’s better decorated as a college athlete than Tim, or someone who will work as hard as Tim out there.” SEC Nation visits Columbia, S.C., on Aug. 28, with its first Saturday edition Aug. 30 in Auburn, Ala.
SEC Now Dari Nowkhah hosts this news and highlights show Monday through Friday beginning Aug. 14.
The Paul Finebaum Show “Voice of the SEC” Finebaum will anchor SEC Network’s afternoon lineup with a simulcast of his radio talk show.
SEC Storied The SEC Storied documentary franchise will have new episodes on SEC Network, including a look at “superfans” like LSU football devotee James Carville and Kentucky basketball backer Ashley Judd in The Stars Are Aligned (Aug. 14 at 9pm ET). “We’ve captured all our footage of these ‘superfans’ and how they take their SEC athletics seriously,” Connolly says. “They’re almost maniacal about it, some of the rituals they go through.” Another episode, Bo, Barkley and the Big Hurt (Aug. 21 at 9pm ET) will look at 1980s Auburn standouts Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley and Frank Thomas.