As they continue to pitch the SEC Network to the major cable and satellite providers, ESPN and the SEC announced on Thursday that the brand-new network will be broadcasting a game from each of its 14 teams during the first four weeks of the season.
As part of that announcement, the Alabama vs. FAU game scheduled for Saturday, September 6th will kickoff at noon ET on the SEC Network. The game is scheduled alongside the Arkansas State at Tennessee game in the same time slot, but the release states that an overflow channel will be made available on that Saturday. Alabama’s opening season game has already been slated for at 2:30pm kickoff on either ABC or ESPN2.
Over half of those schools will open their seasons on the SEC Network. Three SEC conference games will be broadcast as well: Texas A&M at South Carolina (Thursday, August 28th, 6pm), Arkansas at Auburn (Saturday, August 30th, 4pm) and Kentucky at Florida (Saturday, September 13th, 7:30pm).
A rare Sunday night game for the network will be on the network as well, with Utah State and Tennessee playing at 7pm on Sunday, August 31st.
“The fact that the SEC Network will originate a game from every stadium in the conference in the first four weeks of the 2014 season is testament to the depth of coverage fans can expect from the network,” Mike Slive, SEC commissioner, said in a release. “In just the first month of the season, fans that get the network will enjoy all the passion and pageantry of SEC football from 14 of the greatest venues in the world of sports. This is what the SEC Network is all about.”
Announcer assignments were not locked yet for the games, although the Network has pulled a lot of major names like Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy as analysts, while major voices in college football commentary were selected like Brent Musburger to spearhead the calls of the game.
It was also announced late Wednesday that Google Fiber, which is currently only available in Provo, UT and Kansas City, KS, will also be carrying the network on it’s August 14, 2014 debut.
The move by the SEC and ESPN to schedule all the teams is a major strategic move, as ESPN has experienced some pushback from providers like DirecTV and cable providers. So far, AT&T U-Verse, Google Fiber and Dish Network have jumped on board early. The fact that all of the teams will have a game on the network, it will mobilize the fans on each school to really push for the SEC Network on their cable or satellite provider. If fans miss their team’s game because their provider doesn’t carry it, it will spark an outrage, especially in the three in-conference games.