This Saturday, April 18, SEC Network will be flexing its content muscles, utilizing all platforms to deliver more Southeastern Conference spring sports than ever before. Throughout the day, the network will air 14 distinct live events including five spring football games, five baseball games and four softball games. In total, the network will utilize 33 commentators and feature all 14 schools in the conference in either a softball, baseball or spring football game.
Front Row sat down with ESPN senior director of college sports programming Dan Margulis to find out how the network is able to carry such a large volume of content and where fans can view it.
How can one network carry more than 30 hours of content in an eight-hour window?
SEC fans are the beneficiaries of a quality content surplus and Saturday is certainly a prime example of that. We are utilizing a multiplatform scheduling approach to showcase the overlapping events. We will have games on the television channel, select coverage on the SEC Network Alternate channel and additional events on WatchESPN, all occurring simultaneously. A conventional linear channel alone would have restricted the inventory, but having a robust digital platform allows us to increase the amount of live events nearly threefold.
How do you decide which games to put on which platform?
Scheduling can be challenging this time of year with so many compelling matchups. Saturday has the No. 1 and No. 4 baseball teams playing in addition to the No. 2, 9 and 13 softball teams. This Saturday is the reason why you create an SEC network, to provide the ultimate viewing experience for an SEC fan.
It’s a bit of a puzzle to find which piece fits best where, but we take sport equitability and team appearances into account as a conference network. Thankfully we have strong distribution across platforms, which makes building the matrix easier. The spring sport lineups give us a chance to maximize our assets and create a comfort level with viewers on the various ways to consume content.
Is there a way to watch the digital SEC Network + events on my television?
SEC Network + events are available on the WatchESPN App or WatchESPN.com. They can be viewed on smart phones, computers and tablets. While SEC Network + is not a traditional television cable channel, you can watch the events on a television screen through the WatchESPN application on the following devices: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
How can fans view the spring football games?
For the first time, SEC fans will have multiple viewing options to watch their spring football games nationwide.
Every game will be available live and in its entirety on SEC Network + via WatchESPN. We will also have coverage available on our alternate television channel (visit this page to find your local channel listing), which will air a special whip-around program spotlighting multiple games. In addition, every game will be available via additional re-airs on SEC Network later this month.