SEC Network

A month in and SEC Network is off to a spectacular start

(l-r) "SEC Now" commentators Peter Burns, Maria Taylor, Dari Nowkhah and Senior Vice President of Production, SEC Network, Stephanie Druley during the 2014 SEC Network Media Day (Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)
(l-r) SEC Now commentators Peter Burns, Maria Taylor, Dari Nowkhah and Senior Vice President of Production, SEC Network, Stephanie Druley (Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

Yesterday, SEC Network celebrated 720 hours on the air – or in layman’s terms, its one-month anniversary. On Aug. 14, the network launched nationwide with more than 62 million household subscribers and has since aired a football game from every SEC school with the exception of Georgia (who plays on the network this weekend); traveled to four different campuses for SEC Nation; surrounded the games with insightful studio analysis; and aired hours of original programming including four SEC Storied films. Front Row asked Senior Vice President of Production, Stephanie Druley, to reflect on the first 30 days:

What are you most proud of?
The overall team effort to get the network and football on the network launched. All hands were on deck. The team in Charlotte produced 14 team preview shows, 14 film room shoots, 14 access shoots, four All-Access shows and The Paul Finebaum Radio Show on TV three weeks prior to launch. While all of that was happening, the team was preparing for six football games on the first weekend and four hours of SEC Nation. It was a very impressive effort.

What have been some of the best moments of SEC Network event coverage?
The open of the Texas A&M at South Carolina game was awesome. The production team made the decision to bring the stadium experience into the viewer’s living room. A lot of planning went into covering the Gamecock traditions of “2001” and “Sandstorm.” [Commentator] Brent Musburger “laying out” at the perfect time to let the fans experience [the sights and sounds] was tremendous. I thought the result was great television and a perfect way to kick off the college football season, not just for the SEC Network but for the entire country.

Offer some examples of how SEC Network surrounds the games.
There are so many examples, starting with the great studio team in Charlotte and the way they have navigated through a challenging and exhausting first weekend of weather delays. They’ve kept viewers informed and provided good analytical content during delays, in halftimes and in “fill” situations. The SEC Nation show came out of the gate very strong. The chemistry there is phenomenal. The entire team on the road has done an incredible job in what can be a logistically challenging roadshow. It has been a true team effort.

Are there some examples of how SEC Network covers news relating to its schools?
SEC Now is our nightly news and information show covering all 21-SEC sports year-round. As a conference network, we do not have an investigative unit, but have had two examples – an arrest at Ole Miss and the Outside The Lines report surrounding a Missouri sexual assault – illustrating how the network will cover negative stories. In both cases, we reported the news. We told the story and shared any applicable statements. In the case of the Missouri story, the school put out additional information on the second day. We covered the story both days. It is, and will continue to be, our policy to report the news whether positive or negative on SEC schools.

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