When the sun rose over the University of Missouri’s Francis Quadrangle on Nov. 1, it illuminated the highest-profile sign yet of a major new revenue source for the university’s athletic department.
SEC Nation, the SEC Network’s traveling football pregame show, came to MU for the first time since the Aug. 14 launch of the ESPN-owned television network. The show, similar in format to ESPN’s popular College GameDay program, filmed from a temporary set built on MU’s quad, in front of the school’s iconic columns.
In 2008, ESPN and the Southeastern Conference signed a 15-year contract worth $2.25 billion. In May 2013, ESPN and the SEC agreed to a 10-year extension of that contract and announced their intention to create the SEC Network in 2014. According to the Dallas Morning News, the network is now available in about 92 million homes nationally.
ESPN Vice President of Production Bob Rauscher said that the launch of the SEC Network has gone well.
“Certainly we’re in a significant amount of homes, which has given us one of the most successful launches in cable TV history,” Rauscher said. “On the production side, we’re very pleased with the content.”
“We’re new. The network launched in Mid-August; 2 and a half months in, but the show has caught on early. We’ve started to get good crowds to come out and sample the product.
The Southeastern Conference reported revenues of about $314.5 million last year. That’s an increase of about $40 million from the $273 million the conference reported during the 2012 fiscal year.