The four-letter network is going to pay the Southeastern Conference $2.5 Billion over a 15 year period -- about $150 million a year -- for the Conference's TV rights to any and all content not taken by CBS.
This ESPN deal matches up with the 15-year pact the SEC signed with CBS, both will run from 2010-2025.
The deal, aside from the obvious money spigot that it opens up for SEC members, will have repercussions felt throughout the BCS.
*CBS is paying $825 million for its part of the deal ($55 million a year). The fact that a cable outlet is paying almost 3 times what a broadcast network is paying for its share of the action tells you need to know about where the networks rank in long-term exposure.
*Vanderbilt (as will everybody else in the league) will get a check for a little over $15 million a year for its share of the TV revenue. Notre Dame is getting somewhere between $10-12 million from NBC for its network TV contract.
SEC Schools will divide up over $205 million a year in TV revenue for the next 15 years.
*The idea of an SEC network is dead for the near future. It looks like the Big 10 is out there all alone in trying to establish its own TV network, and is still fighting to get Time-Warner and Comcast, among others, to put their channel on the basic cable tier.
*Which brings up another advantage for the SEC with this contract. ESPN's clout has already paid dividends in that Comcast will put ESPNU on its basic cable plan, which will dramatically encrease the SEC exposure to another 12-14 million viewers.
*ESPN will have over 5,000 SEC events to put on all their cable channels plus ESPN360 and ESPN Mobile as well as ESPN.com which also gets "extensive content rights."
*Which brings up another point. Think Sportscenter might find room for more stories on SEC football & basketball in the near future?
* Think the Big 12 and other BCS conferences might be worried about what kind of deal (in terms of exposure and money) they will be able to make when their current TV contracts run out since ESPN is so heavily invested in the SEC?