The Southeastern Conference (SEC) and ESPN have reach a new 10-year agreement beginning in 2024-25, it was announced on Thursday.
The new 10-year agreement “…grants ABC and ESPN exclusive broadcast rights to premier SEC football and basketball events beginning in 2024-25 and continuing through 2033-34.”
The most significant part of the agreement is that SEC football games on Saturday afternoons will move from their current home on CBS to ABC. Additionally, selected SEC football games will be available for primetime broadcasts on ABC and the annual SEC Football Championship Game will be televised by ABC as well.
“This is a significant day for the Southeastern Conference and for the future of our member institutions. Our agreement with ESPN will greatly enhance our ability to support our student-athletes in the years ahead and to further enrich the game day experience for SEC fans around the world,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “The broadcast industry’s intense and widespread interest in securing the SEC’s First Tier rights is a direct reflection of the sustained excellence achieved by our 14 member schools, and we are thrilled to have been able to maximize our current position of strength to benefit our student-athletes, the fans who go to our games and home viewers.”
Below are broadcast and scheduling elements of the new 10-year agreement:
- Regular SEC Football Game on ABC on Saturday Afternoons
- Additional football games on ABC Saturday Nights
- SEC Football Championship Game on ABC
- Introduction of a modernized, more fan-friendly scheduling process, with many game windows solidified earlier while providing flexibility to maximize the exposure of the Conference’s biggest games
- More marquee men’s basketball games on ABC or ESPN
- Additional non-conference men’s basketball games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2
- Beginning with the 2021-22 season, the right to place a limited number of non-conference football and men’s basketball games on ESPN+ that will allow schools autonomy to determine start times
The fourth bullet point above will delight fans and probably teams also. Beginning in fall 2024, most games will be assigned to designated game windows.
This new scheduling process means that, well in advance of the season, fans will know the general start time for many of their games, while still providing adequate flexibility for ESPN to maximize the exposure of the SEC’s biggest and best games and react to storylines throughout the season.
The new agreement also gives ESPN the right to “…move a limited number of non-conference games in football and men’s basketball to ESPN+ beginning in the 2021-22 season.
“One of our primary goals was to improve the television scheduling process in ways that will benefit our students, coaches, alumni and fans,” Sankey added. “With all SEC events now under The Walt Disney Company umbrella, we were able to craft an agreement that includes more lead time for many game time announcements, and in many ways modernizes the college football scheduling process.”
New SEC on ABC logo (beginning in Fall 2024). pic.twitter.com/vdU7CJZHqC
— FBSchedules.com (@FBSchedules) December 10, 2020