SEC Network coming

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Last Friday, thousands of fans across the country tuned in to Fox Sports South to watch as the men’s basketball team opened a highly anticipated 2013-14 campaign.

Later that same evening, thousands more around the Bluegrass watched delayed broadcasts of the games on the UK IMG Network.

In recent years, Kentucky fans have come to rely on those avenues to watch their beloved Wildcats, but beginning next season that will all change.

In August 2014, ESPN and the Southeastern Conference will combine forces to launch the new SEC Network. The network will air SEC content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including 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.

“The SEC Network will be an incredible asset for our conference and for UK Athletics,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “It will provide unprecedented exposure for our teams, but we need the Big Blue Nation to help make it a success.”

Many UK games currently televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports South, UK IMG Network, CSS and SEC TV will likely be available only the new SEC Network. With future games like men’s basketball’s season opener vs. UNC Asheville and the recent football game against Alabama State likely moving to the new SEC Network beginning in 2014-15, fans need to demand their cable and satellite providers carry it. Considering marquee in-conference matchups in both basketball and football will also be televised on the new network, it becomes even more imperative.

The SEC Network launches in nine months, but so far AT&T U-verse is the only national distributor of the network. As of November, providers like Time Warner, DirecTV and Dish Network have not yet made arrangements to carry the SEC Network, meaning subscribers would miss many live UK events.

That’s where the Big Blue Nation comes in.

Fans can visit to check whether their cable and satellite providers carry the SEC Network and, if they do not, contact them to demand they do. Cable and satellite providers make programming decisions based on customer requests. Fans should also regularly check for the latest information about the launch of the new SEC Network.

For fans in Lexington that want the new SEC Network, Time Warner subscribers should call 859-514-1400, DirecTV subscribers should call 1-800-347-3288 and DISH Network subscribers should call 1-800-333-3474 to let them know you want the SEC Network. Cable TV subscribers outside Lexington can obtain the phone number to call from

Meanwhile, UK Athletics is currently working to prepare for the SEC Network’s launch. All live broadcasts -- including the more than 600 that will be streamed live online -- on the SEC Network will have the highest quality production value and maintain a look and feel consistent with ESPN’s other networks.

Representatives from the SEC Network have visited all UK Athletics facilities in recent months in advance of the launch. They have found that UK has an advanced technological infrastructure that should make the transition as seamless as possible.

After the launch of the SEC Network next August, more UK events will be televised that ever before. To make sure you can watch, visit and let your cable and satellite provider know you want access to the SEC Network.

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