It's showtime: SEC Network begins broadcasting today

It's showtime: SEC Network begins broadcasting today

August 14th, 2014 by David Paschall in Sports - College

SEC Network

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

HISTORICAL SEC DATES

December 9, 1932

In a meeting of 13 university presidents in Knoxville, the Southeastern Conference is formed with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane and Vanderbilt. The first SEC champions are crowned in 1933 in baseball, basketball, football and outdoor track.

October 20, 1951

The Alabama-Tennessee football game at Birmingham's Legion Field becomes the first televised athletic event in league history. The Volunteers defeat the Crimson Tide 27-13 and go on to win the first of the 19 Associated Press national championships attained by league schools.

September 23, 1967

Kentucky defensive end Nat Northington, the first African-American athlete to receive a scholarship to an SEC institution, makes his playing debut in a 12-10 loss at Indiana. Every SEC school had black players by the 1972 season, which was when Tennessee's Condredge Holloway became the league's first black quarterback.

December 5, 1992

The SEC becomes the first league to stage a championship, with Alabama topping Florida 28-21 at Legion Field and then going on to win the Sugar Bowl for the national title. The introduction of an SEC championship came about when Arkansas and South Carolina joined the league, which resulted in two six-team divisions.

August 14, 2014

Following the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M before the 2012 football season that gave the SEC a record 14 members, the league and ESPN announced the creation of the SEC Network on May 2, 2013. The SEC Network, which will air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, launches this evening at 6 o'clock.

CHANNELING THE SEC

Where the SEC Network can be found in high-definition on the various Chattanooga-area providers:

PROVIDER CHANNEL

EPB 32, 332 (HD)

Comcast 27, 400 (HD)

Dish Network 404

AT&T U-Verse 607, 1607 (HD)

DirecTV 611

Charter 803

The countdown now can be measured in hours.

At 6 o'clock this evening, the SEC Network will debut as a 24/7 multi-platform showcase devoted to the Southeastern Conference and its 21 sports. Operated by ESPN, the network will open with its flagship news show, "SEC Now," which will air for three hours this evening and will broadcast live from all 14 league campuses.

Among the guests for tonight's opening act are Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning, Joe Namath and Shaquille O'Neal. In the first two weeks, the SEC Network will replay four or five of the most memorable football games in recent seasons for each school.

The SEC and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034, with the network scheduled to carry more than 1,000 live events in its first year. That includes 45 football games, 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games and 75 baseball games.

Texas A&M and South Carolina will open the SEC Network's football schedule two weeks from tonight.

"Live events will be the focus of the network," league commissioner Mike Slive said. "By the fourth week of the season, the SEC Network will have originated a game from every stadium in the conference."

ESPN and the SEC quickly reached carriage agreements with Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse and have since added Comcast, Charter, DirecTV and Chattanooga's EPB. The SEC Network will be in more than 90 million households for tonight's launch, and it has been projected to generate $500 million in revenue subscriptions in the first year alone.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.