SEC Network TV launch looming minus much of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The SEC Network will debut in less than 30 days offering live Southeastern Conference games from all sports, but only certain providers will have access to it.

The ESPN owned network currently has agreements with AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications, DISH Network, and Google Fiber.

Customers with Time Warner Cable and DIRECTV will have to wait to see if they can get it.

Time Warner Cable Spokesperson Mike Pedelty says there are around 700,000 customer relationships in Kentucky.

"We're having active discussions and are hopeful we'll have an agreement to carry SEC Network when it launches," Pedelty told WKYT.

DIRECTV spokesman Thomas Tyrer says the satellite television provider is making progress as well, to make sure UK fans can watch their teams play.

"We're in the middle of productive discussions with Disney over ESPN's new SEC Network and expect to be able to provide it soon. Both DIRECTV and Disney understand and appreciate the unique bond between SEC teams and the communities they represent, many of which lack any professional teams," said Tyrer. "We are working cooperatively to ensure that everyone can still see their favorite SEC team play at the most reasonable value to all SEC fans and the rest of our customers throughout the Southeast."

The SEC Network will launch Aug. 14.

The following three days will feature three UK Men's Basketball exhibition games in the Bahamas. Two of the first three UK Football games will also be exclusively featured on the network.

"DIRECTV is going to definitely start getting a phone call from me," said Terri White, a UK fan.

"I just switched to DIRECTV two years ago and if they don't get their negotiations going on and completed, I'll probably switch to DISH," said UK fan Tommy Richie

Justin Connolly, ESPN's senior vice president in charge of programming for college networks, says it's not unusual for such negotiations to go down to the wire.

Connolly says he's confident of resolutions "based on the demand that's out there among SEC fans."

DISH Network says more people are choosing to switch since their network agreement was announced.

"We absolutely have seen a spike in new subscribers since adding the SEC Network. The response from the SEC Nation has exceeded our expectations and we cannot wait for football season to start. Also, beginning today, consumers who sign up for DISH will receive a SEC flag of their choice to further show off their school spirit," said John Tagle, DISH Network spokesperson.

The SEC and ESPN have a 20-year agreement through 2034. The network will air SEC content 24/7 with more than 1,000 events in its first year. It will televise 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC's 21 sports annually.


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