SBD/August 7, 2014/Media

New Charter Deal Expands SEC Net's Reach; Can Tebow Be Critical On TV?

Charter Communications "has agreed to carry" SEC Network in time for the ESPN property's Aug. 14 debut, according to Jason Frost of the BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS JOURNAL. This puts SEC Network in 91 million HHs, "solidifying the network's launch as one of the most successful in sports TV history." Charter and DirecTV, which agreed to carry the net earlier this week, were the "most glaring holdouts among major providers, particularly due to Charter's market share" in the college football-heavy market of Birmingham. Charter also has subscribers in relevant markets such as Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/6).

Tebow will provide weekly analysis on 
SEC Net's weekly "SEC Nation" show
SOME CALL ME TIM
: The AP's Steve Reed notes SEC Net analyst Tim Tebow will appear on "SEC Nation," traveling to a "weekly SEC game in advance to break down film and give insight into key story lines." Tebow was at SEC Net HQ in Charlotte yesterday to "film a segment for the first show." Tebow said, "I’m excited to talk about Xs and Os and really giving the viewers an opportunity to see what it is like as a quarterback making decisions, going through the reads and coverages. Hopefully they can get a feel for learning offenses" (AP, 8/6). SPORTS ON EARTH's Matt Crossman writes sports analysts on TV "bring with them some measure of fame because many of them were former players," and it is "hard to think of another sports analyst with a more vivid public persona -- someone we think we know better -- than Tebow." Crossman: "Will the man about whom every sports fan has an opinion share his own? Can Tebow, who radiates positive energy ... open up a can of rhetorical whoop, um, butt if he needs to? Will SEC fans tolerate it if he speaks truth in love about one of their beloved?" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 8/7).

SOUTHERN COMFORT: SI.com conducted a writer's roundtable discussing the success of the SEC Net. Richard Deitsch said, "It’s already successful. ... The SEC Network will launch in more than 87 million households. The talent and production staffers are first-class, including announcers Brent Musburger and Joe Tessitore. ... The big question, and one that will take some time to answer: Is the network simply a PR vehicle for the conference? Or will it have any editorial chops?" Martin Rickman added, "It will be immensely successful, although it’ll have the typical first-year jitters and kinks to work out. SEC fans eat, sleep and breathe football, so a network devoted to the conference they care so much about always made sense." Andy Staples: "This depends on how we define success. From a sheer back-up-the-Brinks-truck perspective, it’s going to be a smashing success for the SEC and for ESPN. ... As for editorial success, we probably won’t know until a big, controversial story happens." Pete Thamel added, "I’m curious how in the tank the network will be toward the league. Will this network become the SEC’s version of Fox News? There have been some embarrassing moments in this age of conference-specific TV channels, such as the Big Ten Network initially ignoring the [Jerry] Sandusky scandal. Let’s hope the SEC Network has a little more tact that that" (SI.com, 8/7).
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