What You Need to Know About the SEC Network


The SEC Network is just five months away. The expected launch date of August 21st was just moved up this week to August 14th. The anticipation is growing. But what exactly will the SEC Network encompass?

First off – the network will be owned by ESPN. While some may say that’s not a good thing, as a fan it should be viewed as a good thing. The resources of the worldwide leader are now at the SEC’s fingertips, and to me, the most important aspect of it is the streaming service.

Right now only AT&T and Dish (and Rural Telecommunications Cooperative) have contracts to carry the SEC Network. Dish’s deal didn’t come into play until this week. Comcast and DirecTV are the biggest carriers yet to reach an agreement. You can bet the pressure will be on over the next five months for them to get a deal done, and here’s why:


The current TV deal with CBS and ESPN will still be in affect. So with ESPN owning the SEC Network, they can pick and choose which games will be broadcast on whichever one of their branches they choose.

The first game will be Texas A&M at South Carolina on the opening Thursday night.

Each week CBS will get their choice of the top game. From there ESPN will divvy out the rest as they have done in recent years, only this year and going forward the SEC Network is an option. It’s likely plain ole ESPN will carry the second biggest game, then ESPN2 the third, but from there you never know. And you can be virtually guaranteed several Mississippi State football games will be on the SEC Network. All the the games that used to be on FSN, CSS or Dave Neal’s morning game are expected to be broadcast on the new channel.  At 45 televised games per year, that’s three games each week. And that’s multiple games for each school on the network each fall.

Keep in mind that the 45 games are televised. Games vs. FCS school are likely to be on the streaming service…just like many have only been on ESPN3 in the past.

If the SEC Network had been in affect last year,  as many as 5 of MSU’s games may have been on it.


100 basketball games will be broadcast on the SEC Network. Instead of just flipping to your local carrier, you’ll need this cable channel.

If the SEC Network had been in affect for this year,  16 of MSU’s 18 SEC games would have been on it.


To me, this is the biggest. Right now if you can’t make it out to Dudy Noble you can still watch the games on HailStateTV. Well, HailStateTV, and every school’s streaming subscription service will no longer be carrying all those games – the SEC Network’s streaming service will. When they say they’ll have over 1,000 events covered in the first year, this is what they’re talking about.

This will now allow MSU fans to watch all road baseball games via the SEC Network streaming service. In addition, most of the other SEC baseball games will be available as well! I think this has the potential to really grow a great sport.

We don’t know for sure how many baseball games will be shown, but I’m sure all the SEC vs. SEC games will be. HailStateTV may still be necessary to view non-conference games, however. Still, being able to watch every SEC game plus all the other schools play will be awesome.

Getting SEC Network

This is the biggest thing. As I mentioned, only AT&T and Dish are good to go. If you don’t have those providers, you can request that they add it – the more people that request it the more pressure they have to add the SEC Network.


I’ve got DirecTV for my cable and Comcast for my internet, so while I appear to be out in the cold right now I do have ESPN3, so I figured I’d still be good in the worst case scenario. Not so.

From everything I’ve read the streaming service will be like ESPN3, but will be separate from ESPN3.

So my worst case scenario just got a lot worse. I’ll need DirecTV to watch it on my big screen, then Comcast to watch on my computer. Yikes. I may be switching providers if they don’t step it up.


Tim Tebow will be a SEC Network mainstay. I’m sure Dave Neal will be around as well….and doing the 11:30 game we all love.

The Paul Finebaum show will be simulcast every weekday afternoon. So if you’re not familiar with “Machinehead” by Bush, Tammy and the rest you probably will be.

If you’re a SEC fan like I am – one that pretty much ignores the rest of the country’s sports anyway –  then you’re probably going to flip to the SEC Network for your sports and never flip to anything else.

One show I’d like to see, and maybe they’ll have something like it, is ‘Talkin’ Football’. From my Comcast (CSS) days I can tell you it was one of my favorite shows. It had Tony Barnhart, Bob Neal (Dave’s dad), Mark Schlabach and Brady Ackerman.  Schlabach is with ESPN so maybe he can start it up on the new network.

Final Thoughts

The SEC Network should be awesome. It will bring in a ton of income for Mississippi State and provide a ton more coverage for Mississippi State and SEC fans. Basically this is what you always dreamed about if you’re a hardcore sports fan.

It will have some growing pains for sure, but once everyone is settled in and all the providers are on board it should be clear sailing.

Just one thing to remember – you still have a family, and there is life outside your living room and computer. I’ll need to remember that as well.