Will SEC Network cut into football game attendance?

Mike Slive has a new network, but will it damage attendance at football games? (AP photo)

Mike Slive has a new network, but will it damage attendance at football games? (AP photo)

There are nine days until the launch of the SEC Network (5 p.m. Aug. 14), which made an expected late rally to join DirecTV’s lineup (and its 20 million subscribers) and push its reach to 85 million households.

The SEC certainly will benefit from the network, mainly in the form of money. A lot of money.

But who else will profit from ESPN’s newest venture that will televise more than 1,000 live SEC sporting events, including 45 football games this fall?

An article at MrSEC.com runs down what it perceives will be the winners and losers from the SEC Network.

The winners include:

  • Smaller SEC programs like Ole Miss and Mississippi State (think bigger recruiting budgets)
  • SEC fans
  • Mike Slive
  • ESPN

As for the losers, it included SEC attendance figures, stating: “Attendance figures across the country have dipped in recent years thanks to the explosion of HDTV and a boom in the number of games on television.  The SEC created a panel to study and improve fans’ in-game experience for a reason.  Now that there’s going to be one channel with three straight SEC games on it — plus the usual league games on CBS and the ESPN family of networks — the urge to stay at home might become even greater.”

That’s true for those teams with fickle fans or those stuck in terrible years (Remember how empty The Swamp was at the end of last season?), but for the top teams, their fans will continue to attend the games (LSU just sold all of its season tickets for the 11th straight season).

If they can find tickets.


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