The SEC Network launches in August of 2014 in conjunction with ESPN. Here's the plan for the network:
The network will air SEC content 24/7 including 45 SEC football games, 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games and additional events from the SEC's 21 annual sports. Programming will also include studio shows and original content such as SEC Storied.
The SEC Network will also be available on computers and mobile devices for "fans who receive their video subscription through an affiliated provider". It's supposed to work similar to ESPN's WatchESPN app (which I don't have access to based on my internet provider). The network with have more than 1,000 events in it's first year and they will also have studio shows and "classic games".
What if they took this idea one more step and launched an app that was similar to the WWE Network App that was launched on Monday?
For those who are not familiar with the WWE Network, it is a 24/7 live streaming network (not a channel available through cable and satellite like the SEC Network plans to be). The WWE Network is a subscription based model that gives it's fans access to all of their yearly Pay-Per-Views, original programming and the WWE vault (which includes all past pay-per views for the WWE, WCW and ECW brands). This is all available to consumers for $9.99 a month.
Think about, for a minute, all of the material that is in the SEC "vault". What if a college football fan could purchase an SEC Network app as a companion to the SEC Network (let's call it SEC Network Plus) that would give them access to all of their schools college football (or insert the sport you like here) games for the last 20, 30 or 40 years? What if 24 hours after each game was played, the game was available to be streamed online, no matter if the game was on the SEC Network or if your cable/satellite provider has the SEC Network?
Some football games are on hosting sites like YouTube, but how much would it be worth for a fan to be able to have unrestricted access to their schools past and be able to sit down and relive the current season, last season or the glory season from 15 years ago in which their school won a National Championship? Want to relive Herschel Walker, Tim Tebow or Bo Jackson's best game?
The WWE Network is a step in the direction that we seem to be headed with digital media. With the invention of TiVo, TV no longer was "must see" at the time that it aired and became a medium that is digested during the best time for each consumer. With the invention of Netflix, and now with it's original programming, customers are getting used to watching content in a different way. Whether it's binge watching an entire series of House of Cards, Arrested Development or Orange is the New Black, Netflix is changing the way people are consuming media and how they are consuming it.
Sports is a bit of a different animal because it's still something that you want to view live but what if in addition to viewing the SEC Network live on cable and satellite, you could take the SEC "vault" with you on your mobile device (or computer, PS3, Xbox360) and watch SEC sports from this year or the past whenever you wanted. Would you pay $9.99 for that every month (if not, how about $7.99 or $4.99)? How much would it be worth to you and would it be worth it for the SEC Network?