The Southeastern Conference will launch its own television network this August. The SEC Network, which will be operated by ESPN as part of a 20-year partnership, will carry hundreds of live sporting events including 45 SEC football games this year alone. And if you know anything about the SEC, it's that its fans love college football. So when DirecTV sent an email to its customers on Wednesday telling them they "have no current plans to carry the SEC Network," you can imagine it didn't go over so well. Take a look at the backlash on Twitter:
By not agreeing to carry the SEC network, @DIRECTV has just signed it's death certificate in the south.— Ted Snow (@TedSnow) February 19, 2014
And DirecTV is starting to backpedal:
DIRECTV is still in negotiations to bring SEC Network to customers. Check http://t.co/QDaZagBzUw for updates as season gets closer— DIRECTV (@DIRECTV) February 19, 2014
@bhend7917 Thank you for letting us know that the SEC Network is important to you. I have forwarded your request to our programming team.— DIRECTV Service (@DIRECTVService) February 19, 2014
There is speculation that this announcement by DirecTV is just a negotiating tactic. But if DirecTV's intention was to improve their bargaining power with the SEC Network, it appears the move has backfired and they're driving away a few customers in the process.
AT&T U-verse has already agreed to carry the SEC Network and it is believed Dish Network will too, although no deal has been formally announced. If you're curious, here's a cool video previewing the Network: