Sun Belt Losing TV Partner

Regional television has been a difficult piece of the TV puzzle for the Sun Belt since Day One, the league may have been presented with an opportunity to improve the situation.

Comcast Sports Southeast is shutting down on June 1. In the past that would have left the league with few if any options.

The closing of CSS has been blamed on the creation of the new SEC TV network. The SEC network will take away critical programming that has kept CSS viable.

The SEC Network may have created a new opportunity for the Sun Belt.

With the new SEC Network, the league has ended its long-term syndicated television package with broadcast stations across the Southeast. The 11:30 am broadcast package no longer exists creating the possibility that the Sun Belt could produce games for syndicated distribution across the region on many of those same stations.

The SEC games started at 11:30 am creating conflicts for ABC and CBS affiliates with national telecasts. An earlier 11:00 am start would alleviate those conflicts.

The league's contract with ESPN requires games on other outlets be made available for ESPN3/WatchESPN but can be blacked out in the broadcast regions of those other outlets. An over-the-air network would eliminate the difficulties created by the blackouts of games distributed on CSS since even the most basic cable or satellite package includes local channels.

An opportunity now exists but the time to take advantage of it is very limited with the season starting in about five months.