Greetings from the Gulf Coast and the 2009 SEC Spring Meeting.
As you may know, all 12 athletic directors from the conference are meeting in Destin this week just as we do every year. Coach Gene Chizik, Coach Jeff Lebo and Coach Nell Fortner are also here along with their colleagues from across the conference.
I thought you might be interested in some of the highlights from the sessions that were held this week. Topics we discuss and act on range from post-season tournaments and the Minority Coaches Forum to sport-specific issues such as the conference's football championship game tiebreaker.
Of all the issues on the agenda, I thought you may be most interested in how the new TV deals will affect Auburn Athletics, in particular football since the season is now merely a few months away.
The league's new TV deals with CBS and ESPN go into effect in the upcoming season (2009-2010). The agreements will make the SEC the most widely televised conference in the country, and the revenue generated will ensure the financial strength of Auburn Athletics and all schools in the conference for the next 15 years.
Here are a few highlights of how the TV deals will impact Auburn football:
Eleven of our 12 football games will be televised beginning with the 2009 football season. The 12th game will be available on pay-per-view.
As under the previous arrangement, CBS will televise a national SEC Game of the Week each Saturday with a 2:30 PM Central kickoff time. CBS gets first choice from the slate of games a majority of the season.
ESPN has the rights to every other SEC home game, excluding the games aired by CBS. That means our conference games can air on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
ESPN and ESPN2 will air premier SEC games, with most of them airing during prime time on Saturday nights. ESPN will also air two Thursday night games in prime time.
ESPNU will feature a Saturday game-of-the-week generally played in prime time. If you live in a cable market served by Comcast or are a DirecTV subscriber, you may be interested in knowing ESPN recently reached a new deal with both to add ESPNU to their channel line-up.
ESPN Regional Television replaces Raycom as the syndication home for SEC football. These games will be televised on a series of TV affiliates similar to what Raycom featured with kickoffs at approximately 11:30 a.m.
CBS will televise the SEC Championship game on Dec. 5, 2009.
One question we are frequently asked is who determines kickoff times and how they are decided. In past seasons, we determined kickoff times for non-televised games while the networks determined the kickoff times for televised games based on their contract with the conference.
Since all but one of our games will now be televised, the networks will essentially decide kickoff times for 11 of our 12 games. You can likely expect more games to be played in prime time next year and in the years ahead under the new arrangements.
I am well aware that many of you have your own ideas about kickoff times for Saturdays at Jordan-Hare Stadium. However, it is important to know that while the networks in effect make those decisions for us, there is a tremendous benefit to Auburn Athletics and the Southeastern Conference to have an unprecedented level of national exposure guaranteed for the next 15 years.
The new contracts will impact all of our sports and give us unprecedented exposure. For example, an ESPN outlet will now broadcast all men's conference basketball games beginning with the 2009-2010 season, and ESPN on ABC will broadcast the SEC Tournament Semifinals and Finals for the first time in history. Coverage of women's basketball will nearly double, with SEC teams making a minimum of 16 appearances on ESPN and ESPN2 and additional appearances on other ESPN outlets. In short, the new agreements will provide tremendous national exposure for our basketball programs that far exceeds any we have had in the past.
I hope that helps answer some of the questions you may have had about our TV contracts. More information on how the agreements impact all of our sports can be found on the conference's website at www.secsports.com.
Thanks for all that you do to support Auburn Athletics.
God bless and War Eagle!
Director of Athletics