The SEC Network launch is the most successful launch of a cable network in history.
According to Disney CEO Bob Iger and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, the statement above is absolutely true. Although dollar amounts and ratings numbers have not been released, the media mogul and the leader of the country’s most powerful sports conference are not likely to sugarcoat what the country will know in just a few short days. The date of Aug. 14, 2014 will be bookmarked in conference history.
For the past five days, televisions across the country have been witness to nonstop discussion about the upcoming 2014 season, insider reports from practices all over the south, prognostications and analysis about every SEC football squad. It has been the answer to the prayers of many southerners who would forego any professional sporting event to affix their posteriors in a stadium seat on a Saturday afternoon. The fans’ fixation on college football is being appeased on levels that will keep them glued to the SEC Network all year.
It has been a week of nostalgia. Replays of past glories have whet the appetite of lifelong SEC loyalists as well as young fans wanting a glimpse of what the league was like prior to the BCS days. Images of Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson decimating defenses or Alabama holding strong on the goal line against Penn State in 1979 brought a sense of pride to many who had forgotten what those games looked and felt like.
It has also been a week of newness. Announcers have been introduced and they will be the lifeblood of the program for the next four months. Personalities like Paul Finebaum, Tony Barnhart, Jesse Palmer, Tim Tebow and Brent Musberger will draw even more viewers when the season kicks off on Aug. 28. Nobody knows how the coverage will be, but with this lineup, it is hard to imagine anything less than superb.
The south’s greatest tradition, other than sweet tea, is now on display for the world to see. Many fans of other conferences are probably sick of it already, but the successful launch of the network will line all of the right pockets and ensure the network’s existence for years to come.