Changes Coming to SEC Television
You like change? Then, this is your year. In addition to the playoff era beginning in college football, the media landscape and how you watch Saturday afternoon football will change dramatically.
The biggest news in these parts is the launch of the SEC Network. Promising to deliver 24/7 football programming during the season, the new ESPN-sponsored network is set to launch on August 14th. The big question is whether it’ll be available in your area.
Negotiations with cable and satellite providers continue to move slowly. Right now the only providers signed on are Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse. The conference plans to carry three games each weekend, including an early, afternoon and evening contest.
Game coverage kicks off on Thursday, August 28th with Texas A&M vs. South Carolina and Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee. Two days later, the premier of SEC GameDay airs live from Auburn just before kickoff of the Arkansas game.
ESPN’s Joe Tessitore will anchor the new program and will be joined by Tim Tebow. Like the original GameDay program, the show will rotate to different campuses each week.
Recently, Brent Musburger was named lead announcer for the SEC package on the new network. Viewed as a demotion from his duties as lead play-by-play man for ABC’s Saturday night broadcast, Musburger is being replaced by GameDay host Chris Fowler.
Fowler’s contract expired this year and it’s believed that Fox and CBS both were chasing him. His new deal with ESPN likely will keep him around the network for the remainder of his career. It’s reported that his new deals pays $3.5 million annually. He’ll continue his GameDay hosting duties in addition to the new gig.
Now for the bad news: Joining Musburger in the booth will be Jesse Palmer. For me, this will make Saturday afternoons virtually unwatchable on the new SEC Network. I’m not sure what’s worse, hiring Paul Finebaum to simulcast his show live daily or allowing Palmer’s ignorance to roam freely for three hours each Saturday.
Either way, the new network has already made some missteps before flipping the switch to on. Speaking of Finebaum, look for him to have an expanded role on the new Saturday show.
Tebow will be begging the NFL to give him any kind of job after spending a few Saturdays with Finebaum and Palmer. Count me among those who’ll be sticking with the original GameDay show.
The SEC can do better.