HOOVER, Ala. — Four weeks from Thursday, the SEC Network will be on the air ... at least via the cable and satellite providers who have signed up for it by then.
Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice-president of programming for college networks, was at Southeastern Conference media days Wednesday, and he offered this primer on what will soon be a big show:
-- The switch flips on the network at 5 p.m. Aug. 14.
-- The first big splash will be a football doubleheader Aug. 28 featuring Texas A&M at South Carolina and Vanderbilt vs. Temple.
-- In the first four weeks of the season, all 14 SEC teams will make at least one appearance on the network. LSU’s SEC Network debut will be its Sept. 6 home opener against Sam Houston State.
-- All 14 schools will have a football preview show in August.
-- There will be 45 SEC football games this season — three per week. Kickoff times are 11 a.m., 3 p.m. (for the first time, an SEC game will compete with CBS’ SEC game of the week) and 6:30 p.m.
-- Every SEC game in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and softball will be shown on the network or online, along with every SEC gymnastics meet. Connolly also said the network will have more than 200 live volleyball and soccer events this fall.
-- The network has four primary major providers: Cox (with which it reached an agreement last week), AT&T U-verse, Dish Network and Google Fiber. Connolly declined to provide details of negotiations with major providers, such as Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV. ESPN also is negotiating collectively with about 800 smaller regional providers, such as Eatel, which anticipates having the network in its lineup by Aug. 14.