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Posted: Sunday, 05 May 2013 3:58PM

SEC to start TV network in 2014

In just over a year, fans will be able to watch Southeastern Conference sports 24-7, 365 days a year.

The league will launch the SEC Television Network in August 2014. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says the TV network will televise a thousand live events every year.

"Approximately 45 football games annually, with 3 SEC football games each week for 13 weeks...more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games and 75 baseball games a year...championship and event coverage from a cross section of our 21 sports."

ESPN is a partner in the endeavor.

"The fans are going to have the opportunity to see more games, produced better than ever," says ESPN President John Skipper. "They're going to see them on more widely distributed platforms. This is not only going to be about the great football and basketball, men's and women's, but we're going to have the opportunity to do a lot of other sports."

Now that the conference has its own television network, it raises speculation the SEC will increase the number of conference games a team plays from eight to nine. Slive expects more discussion on that topic.

"People have asked me what my view is. I've said I'm open-minded. And I expect that our coaches, our athletic directors and our presidents will engage in a significant conversation about future scheduling in the months ahead."

The long-anticipated 20-year SEC Network deal, announced at a news conference in Atlanta, was a 10-year extension of ESPN's existing SEC deal. The original contract, signed in 2008, guaranteed the SEC $2.25 billion over 15 years.

ESPN must negotiate with cable, satellite and telephone companies to distribute the SEC Network.

ESPN has already signed AT&T U-verse. It's expected Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, Direct TV, Dish Network and Verizon will also be carriers.

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Locations : Atlanta
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