Mark Edwards' In My Opinion: Network good for SEC but not for us
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
May 21, 2013 | 4288 views |  0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In recent weeks, we’ve heard plenty about the SEC television network, which is supposed to kick off next year.

We’ve heard all about how much more revenue it will generate for SEC schools. That’s wonderful … until we start thinking about who will pay that revenue.

That’s right – you and me.

Hello, higher cable bills. Wow, I just can’t wait for that.

It will be like 1993 when ESPN started an off-shoot channel, ESPN2. We had lots of fun poking fun at a channel none of us actually saw because we didn’t get it on our cable package.

But ESPN’s leaders showed us. They jabbed the knife in and twisted. We had laughed at them, and they weren’t having it.

ESPN2 had nothing we were dying to see, like the SEC network when it starts. So, ESPN started putting Southeastern Conference football games on ESPN2, which made Southern subscribers call cable companies in bunches to complain about how we want the network. So it got added to our cable packages

And we got higher bills in return, because ESPN2 wasn’t free. Neither was ESPNU. Or ESPNews. And ESPN’s SEC Network won’t be free, either.

Forbes.com published in November 2012 that the main ESPN network averages $5.13 a month per cable subscriber home, while the average basic cable fee is 26 cents a month. They know they can charge a premium for their product, and they will.

If nobody carries the SEC Network, ESPN will move prime programming to the channel to blackmail cable companies into adding it. (Imagine how badly you might want that network if carries Alabama vs. Ole Miss or Auburn vs. Mississippi State.)

And we’ll pay higher rates. Thank you, ESPN. This is why I love you so much.

Contact Sports Editor Mark Edwards at medwards@annistonstar.com. Read "In My Opinion" in every Anniston Star sports section, written by Star staff members.

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