Time Warner Cable agrees to carry SEC Network

jtipton@herald-leader.comJuly 24, 2014 

Lexington's cable television provider, Time Warner Cable, announced Thursday it reached an agreement to make the SEC Network available to its customers. That means Kentucky basketball fans can watch the final three games of UK's trip next month to the Bahamas on the SEC Network, which launches on Aug. 14.

The SEC Network has also announced it will televise UK football games this season against UT Martin (Aug. 30) and Florida (Sept. 13), with more likely to come later in the season.

Time Warner spokesman Michael Hogan said the SEC Network will be part of the company's "Standard TV" package, which costs $39.99 per month. Customers who have the standard package, which includes more than 70 channels, will automatically get the SEC Network.

Customers who have Time Warner's "Starter TV" package, which includes more than 20 channels but not ESPN, need to upgrade to Standard TV to have the SEC Network, Hogan said.

Hogan said that the $39.99 monthly charge for Standard TV is subject to change 12 months from now.

Time Warner serves more than 15 million customers nationwide, Hogan said. It has customers in such major SEC-area markets as Louisville, Lexington, Birmingham, Orlando, Tampa, Columbia, S.C., and Dallas.

Bright House Networks, which has 2.5 million customers in Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Indiana and California, also announced Thursday that it would offer the SEC Network.

Charlie Hussey, SEC Associate Commissioner for Network Relations, said Thursday's announcements meant that the SEC Network will be available in roughly 60 million households in the United States. The only major cable or satellite provider not yet on board is DirecTV.

According to Fox Sports, the SEC has set goals of 75 million households and more than $600 million in revenue in the network's first year. That would make it the fifth-most lucrative sports channel trailing ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN2 and Fox Sports 1.

Spokesman Tony Neely said that UK officials were "very excited" that Time Warner and Bright House would be offering the SEC Network.

The SEC Network plans to televise more than 1,000 live events in its first year. That includes at least 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games and events in all of the SEC's 21 sports.

In separate tweets, UK Coach John Calipari welcomed the "good news" of Time Warner offering the SEC Network, and SEC Associate Commissioner Herb Vincent noted how "the momentum continues as launch day grows near" for the SEC Network.

In determining which networks televise SEC football and men's basketball games this coming season, CBS will get first choice. ESPN gets second choice to fill slots on its various "family of networks," which will include the SEC Network as well as ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

Fox Sports, which has one year remaining on its contract with the SEC, will have its choice of any remaining games in 2013-14.

UK fans should be aware that UK's network, which had included WKYT-Channel 27 in Lexington, will no longer televise UK games live. Also, the first three games of UK's trip to the Bahamas will be televised on ESPNU.

Hussey noted that fans outside the reach of the SEC Network can lobby their local cable provider to offer the programming by going to the website getsecnetwork.com.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com.

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