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The SEC Network is just over five months from launch and already SEC fans are at a fever pitch over whether or not their cable or satellite providers will be carrying the channel.
A couple of weeks ago SEC fans forwarded emails to Outkick from DirecTV in which the satellite provider said it had no plans to carry the SEC Network. That set off a social media firestorm and led to a number of customers cancelling their subscriptions. In the wake of that tempest, DirecTV said they were in negotiations with ESPN over the SEC Network. Then Dish Network, DirecTV’s biggest competitor, officially announced it would be carrying the SEC Network nationwide. That increased the pressure anew, leading SEC fans to take to social media and announce they were dropping DirecTV in favor of Dish.
Now DirecTV has issued a new statement, this time to Alabama’s JOX radio station, which requested a DirecTV spokesperson come on the show to explain why they weren’t carrying the SEC Network.
DirecTV declined to appear on the show, but it issued this statement to the Jox Roundtable, the mid-day show on the station:
“We strongly believe every SEC fan should have access to the SEC Network on DIRECTV and customers can rest assured that is our goal as we continue negotiations with the owners of the channel. Contract talks happen on a different timetable with each TV provider, so unlike our competitor, we have really just begun our discussions and hope to have an update on status as we move closer to the network’s launch in August.”
Sure, there’s a little bit of wiggle room here, but it sure reads like DirecTV doesn’t plan on standing up to the SEC Network like they did the Pac 12 Network. The only backtracking I can see here at all would be if DirecTV ultimately insists that ESPN and the SEC are asking for too much money to carry the network and says that’s the reason they won’t carry it. But we already know what the SEC is asking for, around $1.30 a month in the 11 state footprint, less outside the SEC region. So who do you think fans are going to blame here, the SEC and ESPN, who are charging a rate competitive with what the Big Ten charges, or DirecTV?
Yeah, I thought so.
Especially when DirecTV is happy to pay a billion dollars a year for the NFL Sunday Ticket, it’s hard for them to claim they’re looking out for the best interests of their subscribers by denying millions of subscribers a channel they badly want.
In fact, if I was an SEC fan who reupped with DirecTV and then the satellite company didn’t end up carrying the SEC Network, I’d say this statement comes pretty close to false advertising. After all, DirecTV decides whether or not DirecTV carries the SEC Network, not anyone else.
I’ve reached out to Comcast for an official comment on its plans for the SEC Network. When they respond I’ll run that response as well. (Undoubtedly what’s going to happen here is that everyone will agree to carry the SEC Network but Comcast, the provider that I have. That’s how these things always work out. Especially since I do live ads on the radio for Comcast. They’re going to end up making this as awkward as possible for me.)
In the meantime, I also texted Harvey Updyke to see which cable and satellite provider he has. Assuming he has one at all, I think it’s fair to say you don’t want to make Harvey Updyke mad.
As always, you can check and see whether your cable or satellite subscriber is carrying SEC Network by going here.
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