A large chunk of Louisiana’s population was assured Wednesday that Saturdays in Tiger Stadium will be available for television viewing this season.
The fledgling SEC Network, a 20-year, multiplatform partnership between the Southeastern Conference and ESPN, will be available via Cox Communications when the new network is scheduled to launch Aug. 14.
The deal between media giants Cox and ESPN will bring SEC games to most cable television audiences in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Acadiana markets.
The agreement, without doubt, eased the minds of many LSU fans throughout the Bayou State as football season begins not long after initial SEC Network programming airs. The network, and its accompanying digital platform, will air more than 1,000 SEC events in its first year, including at least 45 SEC football games (with tripleheaders on Saturdays), 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and more. All 21 of the SEC sports will be covered by the network in its inaugural season.
Programming on the SEC Network will air around the clock.
“As the official communications partner of LSU athletics and home to some of the biggest SEC fans in the nation, we are thrilled to offer the SEC Network on our channel lineup,” said Jacqui Vines, senior vice president and general manager of Cox’s southeast region.
The SEC Network will be offered on Cox’s “digital essential tier,” which includes 166 channels, including several ESPN options, Cox Sports Television and more. The price of that tier is $69.99 per month. In addition, the SEC Network will be available on the WatchESPN app, Cox officials said.
The agreement with Cox was a big one for the SEC Network. In the past few months, the network has struck deals with, among others, the DISH Network, AT&T U-Verse, Google Fiber, and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC). To date, 26 providers across the U.S. have been secured to broadcast content this season, SEC Network officials said.
Two major providers in the Louisiana market have yet to come to terms with the SEC Network: Charter Communications and DirecTV. Charter serves the large population center on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain; as well as the Houma-Thibodeaux area, Eunice, Opelousas and several other communities in south Louisiana. DirecTV has a sizable number of customers throughout various parts of the state.
Patti Michel, the spokesperson for Charter Communications’ south region, said that in recent interviews with the media, more questions than not are about a possible broadcasting arrangement between her company and the SEC Network.
“Charter is always seeking additional programming for our customers to enhance their entertainment experience,” Michel said.
Gracie Blackburn, spokesperson for SEC Network, said that network officials are “having conversation with all the television providers, trying to get everyone on board for Aug. 14.”
Information on channel positioning of the SEC Network on Cox will be released soon.