While the deal is not done yet, expect Charter Communications to be in ESPN’s SEC Network camp when the service kicks off next month.
The MSO said it is finalizing a distribution deal with ESPN and that it “will have the SEC Network for its August 14 launch.”
Charter counts some 4.1 million video subscribers and would push SEC Network’s reach past the 64 million home mark.
Should/when the pact become official, ESPN’s affiliate team would cross off another major distributor from the SEC Network’s checklist, leaving DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and members of the National Cable Television Cooperative on the carriage sidelines at this juncture.
ESPN said it doesn’t comment on ongoing negotiations.
That’s in keeping with ESPN senior vice president of college networks Justin Connolly's position in a recent interview, when he said : “I’m confident we’re going to get more deals done, but until things are actually signed, a contract is just a piece of paper.”
The SEC Network has deals with Comcast, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications, as well as pacts with smaller providers.
Reports suggest DirecTV is also nearing a carriage accord. Spokesmen for the leading DBS provider and Verizon have told Multichannel News that they are in negotiations for carriage of the SEC Network.
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