The SEC network will launch in August of this year, just in time for college football, but there are still major questions with what providers will carry the network. On Wednesday, DirecTV send out e-mails to customers (who had inquired about the network) telling them they "have no current plans to carry the SEC Network".
Once this went viral on social media and the company got some consumer feedback, they quickly changed their tune with this tweet…
DIRECTV is still in negotiations to bring SEC Network to customers. Check http://t.co/QDaZagBzUw for updates as season gets closer
— DIRECTV (@DIRECTV) February 19, 2014
This may have been a negotiating tactic by the satellite provider, but if they thought SEC fans were going to be quiet about the possibility of not getting to see the SEC Network, they thought wrong and in the long-run this is good news for the SEC and the SEC Network.
Last year, the Pac-12 Network launched and DirecTV did not pick them up (they still haven't). The Pac-12 Network now has step by step instructions on their website on how to drop DirecTV and pick up a different provider that has the network. According to the link, in my area I could switch to AT&T U-verse or DISH network in order to get that network. I don't know what kind of impact that has had but if DirecTV still doesn't carry that network then I would think it's been little to none.
Of course, the SEC averaged 3.8 million viewers per game (on 120 games) during the 2013 season whereas the Pac-12 network averaged 1.7 million viewers per game (based on 76 games). Out of the top college football teams, the SEC had five of the top seven in terms of TV ratings and 8 of the top 15 whereas the Pac-12 had none. This isn't an article to bash the Pac-12, but it's just to show that the two conferences are fundamentally different in terms of viewership.
Based on the responses from social media, DirecTV now has a better understanding of Southern culture than they did before the day started. My bet is that they get a deal worked out before the season starts. If they don't, I'm pretty sure a lot of my neighbors will make the switch. Advantage, SEC Network.