ESPN Lands SEC Network Distribution Deal With DIRECTV; Disney Strikes Deals With NCTC, Suddenlink

DIRECTV and ESPN have entered into an agreement for DIRECTV to provide the new SEC Network to fans and followers of the Southeastern Conference when the network launches Aug. 14. The first college football game on the new network will air Aug. 28 featuring #20 Texas A&M vs. #9 South Carolina.

ESPN DIRECTV“The SEC boasts powerhouse athletic programs, especially in football, representing deeply loyal communities, many of which do not have any professional teams,” said Dan York, DIRECTV’s Chief Content Officer. “The depth of SEC competition and the quality ESPN brings to game production and complementary programming makes SEC Network a valuable addition to our sports programming lineup, and we’re excited to bring it into our customers’ homes and on their devices.”

“Our agreement with DIRECTV continues to push the SEC Network towards one of the most successful network launches when it debuts on August 14,” said Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks Senior Vice President, Affiliate Sales. “We’re proud to deliver the SEC Network nationwide via DIRECTV in advance of the Texas A&M and South Carolina game later this month.”

The SEC Network will deliver at least 45 exclusive SEC football games this season. Recently released pre-season polls rank seven SEC teams in the college football preseason top 25, ensuring consistently close, competitive match-ups on SEC Network. The network will also serve as an all-access pass to nationally competitive events, news and information, expert analysis, classic games and in-depth features on the most storied conference in college athletics.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, “With opening day now firmly in sight, we are happy to count DIRECTV, the country’s largest satellite provider, among our many distributors for the SEC Network. The SEC is home to the most passionate fans in college sports and I am pleased to have such a wide distribution by launch date for the benefit of SEC fans everywhere.”

“With the launch of SEC Network just days away, we look forward to serving these legions of current and prospective students, alumni and loyal supporters with quality content and coverage nationwide,” added Justin Connolly, ESPN Senior Vice President, College Networks.

The Walt Disney Company, National Cable Television Cooperative Announce Long-Term Distribution Agreement
The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) and The Walt Disney Company announced a comprehensive multi-year distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to participating NCTC members’ customers across TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices. The cable co-op serves nearly 1,000 member companies across the United States.

“NCTC is pleased to again offer our members access to top-tier sports and family channels under our new agreement with Disney & ESPN Networks Group. The addition of the SEC Network, Longhorn Network and digital platform rights helps strengthen the long-term partnership and enhances the value the agreement brings to members,” commented Judy Meyka, Executive Vice President of Programming, NCTC.

“Customers of the NCTC member companies will benefit greatly from this latest renewal deal,” added David Preschlack, Executive Vice President, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group.  “Not only will they continue to receive the great content we deliver across our networks, but also the added value of accessing that content on digital platforms with our WATCH products, choosing when to watch them with video-on-demand services and a lineup of new channels including Fusion, the upcoming SEC Network launching on August 14, Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN Bases Loaded.”

As part of the new multi-year deal, the NCTC will introduce several new services, including the full suite of authenticated WATCH and video-on-demand products, Fusion, the upcoming SEC Network at launch on August 14, Longhorn Network beginning with the 2014-15 college football season, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN Bases Loaded.  Services that will continue to be covered by the broad scope of this agreement include: ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic and ESPN3.

Participating NCTC members’ customers will receive broad access to existing authenticated products like WATCH ABC authenticated on-demand content, WATCH ABC Family, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney Junior, WATCH Disney XD and WatchESPN (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN Bases Loaded) through the networks’ own WATCH sites and apps. These products will give customers more opportunities to access live and video-on-demand content, both in-home and out-of-home, on their computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices.

The Walt Disney Company, Suddenlink Announce Multi-Year Distribution Agreement
Suddenlink and The
Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today announced a broad multi-year distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s robust lineup of top quality sports, news and entertainment content to Suddenlink TV customers across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices. The renewal agreement enhances the multichannel business model and supports the companies’ mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms.

“A number of our customers have expressed interest in the SEC and Longhorn Networks, and a sizable majority have told us how much they value Disney networks like ESPN and ABC Family,” said Kathy Payne, Suddenlink Senior Vice President and Chief Programming Officer. “We’re very pleased we can provide those customers what they’ve said they want, and we’d like to specially thank the SEC and Longhorn fans who contacted us for their enthusiasm and patience, as we worked with Disney to complete this comprehensive, long-term agreement.”

“Suddenlink TV customers will benefit greatly from this latest multi-year renewal agreement,” added Sean Breen, Senior Vice President, Affiliate Sales, Disney & ESPN Networks Group.  “Not only will they continue to receive top quality content from Disney and ESPN networks ahead of the new fall programming slate and upcoming football season, but also additional, highly sought after services.”

As part of the new multi-year deal, Suddenlink will introduce several new services, including the upcoming SEC Network at launch on August 14 and Longhorn Network, beginning with the 2014-15 college football season.  In addition, beginning this fall, Suddenlink plans to introduce Fusion and the full suite of authenticated WATCH services, including WatchESPN.  Continuing services covered by the broad scope of this agreement include: ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN3, video-on-demand services and retransmission consent for KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, KTRK-TV in Houston and KFSN-TV in Fresno.