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TWC, Bright House Ink SEC Network Deal

Add two more major distributors to SEC Network’s growing affiliate roster.

ESPN has reached a carriage contract with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks across the cable operators’ entire base of systems in time for SEC Network’s launch on Aug. 14.

The agreement, financial terms of which were not disclosed, follows recent affiliate pacts with Comcast and Cox Communications. All told, the sports giant says at this point the SEC Network will be available to 60 million households at launch. SEC also has deals with charter affiliate AT&T U-verse, Dish Network and Google Fiber, among others. DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and Charter Communications have yet to sign pacts with the fledgling service.

As is the case with other affiliates, Time Warner Cable has committed to a widely penetrated package within the conference’s 11-state footprint – it will place the SEC Network on its standard level of service for its systems operating in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas. The channel, presenting over 1,000 live events in its freshman year, including 45 games from the nation’s preeminent football conference, will be offered on digital on TWC's other systems.

The deal ensures that subscribers at the nation’s No. 2 MSO will be able to see the network’s football opener on Aug. 28, when the South Carolina Gamecocks host Texas A&M at 6 p.m.

The same positioning game plan will be in play at Bright House, whose programming deals are negotiated by Time Warner Cable: it will offer SEC Network on standard in Florida and Alabama, and on its digital package in Indiana, Michigan and California. The MSO has a strong presence in central Florida – the Sunshine State is home to the Florida Gators – and serves Birmingham, the home DMA for the Alabama Crimson Tide, the perennial football power.

"We know we have customers who want the SEC Network, and are pleased to bring it to them," said Andrew Rosenberg, senior vice president of content acquisition for Time Warner Cable.  "This deal will help ensure that fans and alumni of SEC universities won't miss any important games."

Noted Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks senior vice president, affiliate sales: “By delivering the SEC Network across Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks’ nationwide footprint, including key markets within SEC territory, we are meeting the demands of fans while also adding value to customers’ video subscriptions in advance of the network’s launch next month.”