SEC Network Sets Launch Date, Signs Deal With Rural Telecommunications Co-Op
ESPN Senior VP/Programming Justin Connolly said that the new SEC Network "is set to hit the air" Aug. 21, 2014 at 7:00pm ET, according to Matt Murschel of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Connolly said that "along with the 450 live events the network is expected to air, he expects that the original target of 550 annual digital events will be surpassed." The SEC Network currently "has a distribution deal with AT&T U-Verse and just recently added the National Rural Telecommunications Co-Op, which according to Connolly, will add '10s of thousands' of subscribers" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 7/18).
BACK ON THE AIR: In Birmingham, Bob Carlton notes host Paul Finebaum's new ESPN Radio show will "originate out of Charlotte, where ESPN is building a studio to house the show." Pat Smith, the "longtime director of 'The Paul Finebaum Radio Network,' will continue as Finebaum's program director." The new show "likely will be called 'The Paul Finebaum Show.'" Finebaum said it is a "very reasonable guess" that it will begin on Aug. 12. The show likely will "air in his previous time slot of 2 to 6 p.m. Central, or close to it." Finebaum said, "I know it will air in the general time slot that it's been in. It may or may not vary. That is something that has not completely been worked out. But it will definitely be on in the afternoon." In markets around Alabama, Finebaum said that he "expects many of the same affiliates that carried his show before will carry the new show, but he is uncertain how many and which ones." ESPN Radio is "handling those negotiations, and Finebaum said he expects there will be an official announcement as early as next week" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 7/19).
SOUTHERN LIVING: In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell writes the SEC is "on the verge of some rather revolutionary stuff," and may be the "one institution that can bring the arrogant NCAA to its knees." The SEC might convince the "folks who really think they run the NCAA ... to surrender control of the business of this vast and complicated enterprise back into the hands of the people who actually know how to run it: the athletic directors, conference commissioners, coaches and other athletic administrators who do this for a living." SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, "I think presidents are absolutely essential to the governance of the NCAA, just like they are essential to the way we run the Southeastern Conference. (But) it’s not about whether or not they should be involved. ... The question is what is the best way to utilize their experience and expertise? It’s not about whether or not they should be involved, it is about how best to involve them." He added, "Absolutely the presidents need to make the policies. In our conference we have a great relationship with our presidents. Everyone knows the presidents have a final say. But for example, we don’t need our presidents deciding whether or not we should travel 85 or 86 players" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/19).