CBS has held the primary broadcasting rights for SEC football games for several years. The network's TV rights are up in a couple of seasons, though, and it's possible the conference could go elsewhere.
AL.com had an update today on the negotiations between CBS and the SEC. The deal ends following the 2023 football season and it seems like anything could happen.
CBS pays the SEC $55 million a season and would reportedly like to get an extension done before the end of 2019. The network will reportedly face some major competition, however.
Disney is reportedly expected to be the toughest competition for CBS. This would allow the Chris Fowler/Kirk Herbstreit team to call the SEC's biggest games, like Alabama-LSU and Alabama-Auburn.
CBS’ toughest competition for the top SEC TV package is expected to be from Disney. Disney already owns a large slate of SEC games that it broadcasts on its ESPN and SEC Network channels, but internally the feeling is landing the current SEC on CBS package is a major priority. Not only would there be tremendous value for the company to own the entire SEC slate but it would create considerable more flexibility for scheduling games. Disney could carve out a weekly spot on ABC to give the games maximum exposure the way CBS has done each week in its 3:30 EST time slot for the SEC. There could be a similar commitment to more cameras and the best possible talent announcers to give it the big game feel CBS has excelled at each week. Currently, ABC has its top announcing crew of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit slated for its primetime game.
AL.com points out that it's unclear if the SEC would want to have all of its games on one network. Things are currently split between CBS and ESPN. "There’s value in that," AL.com says.
It's possible, according to the report, that the SEC's new TV rights deal would allow for CBS and ESPN to split the league's top games. Hypothetically, this could allow for ABC to broadcast the Alabama-LSU game, while CBS gets the Alabama-Auburn game. It would be fun to see Herbstreit call a major SEC game.
One thing is for certain: The SEC's new broadcasting rights deal will be for much more than $55 million/season.
You can view AL.com's full report here.