Is the New SEC Network a Guaranteed Success?

The talk shows are coming, the talk shows are coming.

The talk shows are coming, the talk shows are coming.

The launch of the new SEC network is only 2 weeks away and the signs are pointing up. With a partnership through ESPN it seems inconceivable for the network to fail. I know Big 10 country would love to see nothing more than the SEC struggle at their network but that is unrealistic. Whether you’re pro SEC Network or think it’s a money grab for cheating football teams, here are the pros and cons of the television channel.

Pro: If the Big Ten Network can succeed, imagine what the SEC can do as an ESPN affiliate.

The Big Ten Network has been around since 2007, and it feels crazy to think it’s been around for that long. BTN was a partnership with FOX Sports and that’s important to note. FOX Sports 1 wasn’t even around to help promote it yet BTN has powered through some ups and downs.

Now imagine if BTN had the ESPN machine promoting the channel through SportsCenter every hour, or during Monday Night Football. Heck, even on ABC. That’s a huge resource and I haven’t even mention espn.com being loaded with SEC Network promos too. While BTN programming may be hidden on an obscure channel, the SEC Network will be loud and proud with ESPN.

Con: The SEC does not have enough content to fill a 24/7 network 365 days a year.

That is correct, but neither does BTN, ESPN, CNN nor practically every other 24/7 network for that matter. These television stations have mastered the art of filling time and SEC network will do the same. BTN replays games from previous seasons most of the time and somehow that has been enough. A 5-year-old football game beats “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” any day.

Pro: Live sports

Live sporting events, particularly football, are ratings gold and almost impossible to mess up. Well unless you’re FOX Sports 1. Here’s a breakdown of the event programing.

That seems kind of small on the women's side don't you think?

That seems kind of small on the women’s side don’t you think?

Con: These events were already on television anyway

For football that is true. Even the Kentucky Wildcats and Vanderbilt Commodores have had their football games on some platform. The SEC network will steal some games away from ESPNU and will of course wipe out ESPN3. Basketball games, however, are tougher to find and the SEC Network will serve fans greatly during the conference tournaments in both men’s and women’s basketball. The question will be the other sports like soccer and volleyball. Will the SEC faithful watch those too?

Pro: SEC fans see their league as a family

Note that they are not chanting L-S-U after winning the title.

Con: Are there enough basketball fans?

Kentucky and Florida will have the bulk of their basketball games on bigger networks like CBS. Once you get past Vanderbilt and Tennessee you start running into a lack of depth on hardwood. Will people watch South Carolina and Auburn tangle in hoops in a primetime setting? That remains to be seen. The SEC really needs schools like LSU, Arkansas, and Mississippi State to be a tourney team on a regular basis. Maybe Missouri can find its way to being a basketball power too. If it’s just Kentucky and Florida carrying the other 12 schools, it might hurt the network during the first three months of the year.

Pro: The SEC does not have many professional teams to worry about.

Atlanta is the only city in the South that’s loaded with professional sports teams and that hurts Georgia Tech more so than UGA. South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Kentucky are states where college ball is in charge. LSU is right up there if not greater than the New Orleans Saints in terms of fan support. The Florida Gators don’t have to worry about the Jacksonville Jaguars or even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eating away its media attention. Contrast that with most other regions like the Midwest and Northeast. The Southeast is unique in that its college teams are more popular than the pro guys.

Con: Talk Shows?

This is really the only thing that could derail the network in my opinion and that’s just it; having too many opinions.

If the network tries to fill time with people calling in and saying “Roll Tide This” and “War Eagle That” than it will get old and get annoying quick. I would rather watch a SEC women’s soccer game than have Paul Finebaum talk about Nick Saban vs. Les Miles.

Cutting the chatter to a minimum and showing as much live sports as possible is really what fans want. There will be plenty of time to chant S-E-C, just save it for the games.

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