Earlier this afternoon, the SEC teased a “a significant announcement” to come from the conference later in the day.
Well, that time has come. On Thursday night, ESPN announced a 10-year contract with the Southeastern Conference which ends a two-decade run with CBS broadcasting SEC football.
Disney acquired the rights to broadcast SEC sports and will begin doing so as early as next season on its ESPN+ platform. However, the full contract doesn’t kick in until 2024.
SEC insider Ross Dellenger offered some insight into the new deal.
“Under the package, ESPN and ABC have rights to broadcast the league’s 15 best football matchups as well as eight marquee basketball games,” Dellenger reported.
“ABC now has rights to the SEC football championship game, which it will air in its traditional late-afternoon slot. And starting next year, the network can broadcast one non-conference football matchup on ESPN+ with each team.”
An @SINow exclusive: Inside SEC’s new deal with ESPN.
-10-year contract starting in 2024
-best game can shift from 3:30 ABC to ABC primetime
-some SEC games assigned KO times in summer
-starting next year, ESPN+ has rights to 1 non-con game for each teamhttps://t.co/HP8fOK5jCz
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 10, 2020
ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said the new deal allows for flexibility during the Saturday slate. The SEC’s best game of the weekend will no longer be locked into the 3:30 p.m. ET window – as was normally the case with CBS.
“While the conference will be assured a weekly 3:30 time slot on ABC, its premier matchups can shift to ABC’s prime-time window,” Pitaro said via Dellenger’s report.
Unfortunately, the familiar theme music that accompanies the SEC on CBS won’t be retained.