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ESPN, Dish reach agreement to carry SEC Network; Launch set for August 14, 2014.

After a quiet period on the agreement front for the SEC Network, the fledgling TV network for the nation's premier conference finally has a major carrier on board.


For months now we've seen school officials for the SEC's 14 teams pushing us, the fans, to go to and request our cable/satellite provider to carry the network when it launches this fall. Despite those efforts, things had been quiet on the agreement front, that is until yesterday when ESPN and Dish Network announced a deal for the satellite provider to pick up the new all-SEC channel when it launches this fall.

The deal sets a launch date of August 14, 2014 for the channel, and gives ESPN and the SEC its first major satellite carrier and its second major TV market, joining AT&T U-Verse, which joined on when the network was announced last May. Here's more on what yesterday's deal means from the SEC's official press release:

The channel will be available to fans and followers of the Southeastern Conference in DISH's America's Top 120+ and higher packages across the country. DISH subscribers will also have authenticated access to additional live events scheduled for the SEC Network's digital platform, with the ability to watch SEC Network content anytime, anywhere on their television, computer, tablet or mobile device.

"Few fan bases rival the passion and loyalty of the SEC, and DISH is proud to be the first nationwide television provider of the SEC Network," said Dave Shull, DISH executive vice president and chief commercial officer. "We strive to give our customers and consumers what they want, and there's no better place for the college sports fan than with DISH."

The SEC Network and its accompanying digital platform will air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, including at least 45 exclusive SEC football games, more than 100 men's basketball games, 60 women's basketball games, 75 baseball games, 50 softball games and events across all of the SEC's 21-sports. The network will be an all-access pass to nationally competitive events, news and information, expert analysis, classic games and in-depth features on the most storied conference in college athletics.

With Dish on-board, the pressure now falls squarely on the shoulders of DirecTV to pick up the channel in time for the launch in late summer. The question is: If DirecTV and ESPN cannot reach an agreement to carry the SEC Network by August, will you be switching service providers? Let us know where you stand in our poll.