SBD/July 1, 2014/Media

Comcast Reportedly Nearing Carriage Deal For SEC Network Prior To August Launch

Comcast is nearing a carriage agreement with SEC Network, with Comcast Exec Dir of Corporate & Financial Communications John Demming saying the MSO is "working out final details" of a deal, according to Clay Travis of FOXSPORTS.com. Demming added, "We expect to come to an agreement in the near future." Travis noted a deal with Comcast would leave Time Warner Cable and DirecTV as the "only two major companies who have not yet reached an agreement" to carry the SEC Network. Dish Network, AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber will begin airing the net when it launches Aug. 14. It is unknown when the Comcast deal will be announced, but it "could make quite a splash at SEC Media Days in two weeks." The addition of Comcast "would put the SEC Network in roughly fifty million homes" (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/30). In Tampa, Antonya English noted when plans to launch the SEC Network were announced last year, it was "anticipated that demand from cable companies to carry the network would be great." However, agreeing on a carriage price "has been a challenge." The SEC and ESPN are insisting that the channel "be carried as part of a main digital cable package rather than billed separately or bundled into an optional sports-channel tier." Florida AD Jeremy Foley last month addressed Univ. Athletic Association board members and said that he "has full confidence in ESPN and a lot is at stake for SEC schools." Foley: "The network is not fully distributed yet, but we've met with the ESPN folks, and obviously they've got aggressive plans. They're as good a partner as you could ask for. Nobody knows this business better than they do. At some point in time, this network will get distributed, fully distributed, and it will be significant dollars to every school in this league" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/30).

BEHIND THE DESK: ESPN has reached a multiyear deal with anchor Dari Nowkhah to host "SEC Now," the SEC Network's weeknight news show. He has primarily been the SEC studio host for ESPNU the past four years. Nowkhah will continue to contribute to ESPN Radio's "Dari & Mel" show on Saturday mornings, as well as other ESPN Radio opportunities throughout the year (ESPN).
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