Editor’s note: The Southeastern Conference and ESPN signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network which will launch in August 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will air SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. As the countdown to launch continues, Front Row will bring you behind the scenes of the SEC Network in a regular series of posts.
Six months from today, on Thursday, Aug. 28, the SEC Network will debut its traveling pregame show, SEC Nation, from the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia, S.C.
That day, Joe Disney might have the best seat in the house. Disney was hired this week as the show’s producer. Every week during the football season, Disney will be in the production truck scrutinizing camera angles and relaying information to SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore’s and analyst Tim Tebow’s earpieces. Front Row caught up with Disney to talk about the new gig and the future of the show.
Week in and week out, what can viewers expect from the debut season of SEC Nation?
They can expect to feel like they’re at an SEC tailgate every Saturday and to experience all that comes from those 14 unique environments. The show will be fun and informative. I can’t wait to work with Joe and Tim and others, too. It will be a great set to talk SEC football, getting fans ready for all the games that day, and addressing the hot topics in the league. We will be on the road at an SEC location for the entire season and joining the tailgating party wherever we go.
What do the next six months look like for you and your team?
The first goal is to build that team. We have some great “players” [on-air commentators] already, but there are more to come. We will begin the process of taking a ton of great ideas and making them a reality.
What are your expectations of Tim Tebow as a new analyst?
I know he’s a hard worker and is already embracing all that goes into becoming a great analyst. I’m especially looking forward to his first pre-show pump-up speech for the crew. He’s had some great ones in the past.
You grew up in an SEC college town, Athens, Ga. What does the SEC mean to you?
SEC sports, especially SEC football, are why I’m a sports fan and in this business. Growing up in Athens, I was fully immersed in the SEC, learning and living the traditions, pageantry and passion.
People have always asked me what is so special about the SEC. It’s a feeling you have from the moment you wake up on a Saturday until you go to bed. It’s the pregame atmosphere – walking around all the tailgates, listening to the bands warming up, eating great food, just getting pumped for the game. Now in this role, I get to experience that again and share that with our viewers all over SEC country and the nation.
We have to ask: Are you related to Walt Disney? [The Disney Company owns ESPN.]
I was told by my late grandfather, Richard Disney, that yes I am, but very, very distantly. When people ask, I say “not enough!”