SEC football package invading Big 12 markets


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

There were some fears among Big 12 officials when details about the SEC's whopping television contract with ESPN was announced last year. Some coaches have mentioned the recruiting advantages present for the SEC with virtually every game available in some form or fashion.

But it's trickling down even more than that. ESPN Regional has arranged for station clearances for over-the-air broadcasts of a package of SEC games this season in Big 12 markets like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kan.

This is the package for the early Raycom games that once were seen only in the nine-state geographic footprint of the SEC. But that's changed this season as the SEC has also ram-rodded itself into markets like Columbus, Ohio, Phoenix and Pittsburgh for those games. The SEC also has hopes of having affiliates in places like Chicago, Detroit and New York City by the time the regular season begins.

These syndicated games likely will be carried on independent stations in their respective markets, taking time away from paid programming.

I myself will love having another game available. The more the merrier has always been how I look at it.

No other conference can match the SEC's mainstream national assault -- even with the availability of the Big Ten Network on some satellite systems.

And it highlights why the Big 12's television future has become such a huge priority for Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.

As more SEC games are available in the three largest markets of his league's most significant recruiting area, it's understandable why Beebe is hoping the Big 12 can attract a similar television package to match this exposure when its TV deal comes up. The Big 12's current contract with ESPN/ABC runs through 2015-16, but its deal with Fox Sports Net expires after the 2011-12 season.