SBD/July 10, 2014/Media

Cox Communications The Latest MSO To Agree To A Carriage Deal With SEC Network

ESPN and Cox Communications yesterday announced a carriage deal for the SEC Network, which is set to launch Aug. 14. Cox subscribers will have authenticated access to additional live events slated for the SEC Network's digital platform. Cox has subscribers in five states within the SEC footprint (ESPN). In Birmingham, Ty West noted Cox has 6 million customers and five SEC schools "in its markets, including Florida, Georgia and LSU." It is the "third largest cable provider in the nation." Cox joins AT&T U-Verse and Dish Network as having agreed to carry the channel, and ESPN also is reportedly "nearing a deal with Comcast."  The net is "still trying to reach deals with several key providers, including DirecTV and Charter, which is a major carrier in Birmingham" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/9). In Baton Rouge, Andrew Canulette notes the deal "eased the minds of many LSU fans throughout the Bayou State as football season begins not long after initial SEC Network programming airs." The net "will be offered on Cox’s 'digital essential tier,' which includes 166 channels, including several ESPN options, Cox Sports Television and more." The agreement with Cox was a "big one for the SEC Network." The network in the past few months also has "struck deals" with Google Fiber and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative. To date, 26 providers across the country "have been secured" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 7/10). 

SOUTHERN COMFORT: FOXSPORTS.com's Clay Travis noted the Cox deal "puts the SEC Network in right at 27 million homes," and with Comcast "putting the final touches on its deal with the SEC Network, that puts the SEC in roughly 50 million homes, or about half of the total cable and satellite homes in the country." With "just over a month to go before the SEC Network officially launches, it's clear that there's no doubt -- the SEC Network's launch is a success." The network was seeking $1.30 a month "per subscriber in the 11 state SEC footprint which has right at 28 million cable and satellite subscribers." Travis: "Let's give the SEC Network half of those markets, or 14 million subscribers so far, and let's say that ESPN only netted $1.10 per subscriber there, nearly twenty cents less than it was asking." That is $184.8M a year "in subscriber fees in the SEC footprint." Travis added, "Let's assume that the other 36 million subscribers nationwide will be paying .25 a month, or $3 a year." That is $108M in "additional revenue," so subscriber fees right now are "looking at just shy" of $300M, or $292.8M total. Toss in a "quarter more revenue for advertising sales" -- $73.2M. This "means that right now at launch we're talking about the SEC Network doing" $366M in revenue (FOXSPORTS.com, 7/9).
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Media, Cox Communications Inc., ESPN, SEC

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