By: Charles Bloom
SEC Digital Network
Mark Womack is the Executive Associate Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. One of his roles in the SEC office is to work with the SEC’s television partners. He has been at the SEC office since 1978 and has served many roles in the conference office during that time. In addition to currently working with the television networks, he also works with league’s bowl partners and serves as the liaison to the conference’s athletics directors among other duties.
SEC Digital Network: In the current television arrangement, how is the selection order determined for the networks?
By contract CBS has first selection of games each week and then ESPN selects games for its different platforms (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC NETWORK, FSN, CSS). CBS does have maximum appearance limitations of no more than five appearances per season for any one institution and can use six appearances for a school four times over the term of the agreement.
SEC Digital Network: In the current television arrangement, CBS gets two doubleheader dates. How are those determined?
Prior to the start of the season, CBS selects the dates for its two doubleheaders based on the number of games available to them for selection. CBS has the right to do a 3:30 ET and 8:00 pm ET doubleheader on one date and a noon ET and 3:30 ET doubleheader on a different date.
SEC Digital Network: Describe your role in putting together the weekly television schedule?
My role is one of a facilitator. I discuss with both CBS and ESPN the selections they are considering and we have to be sure the selections meet the contractual requirements. The final selections are made by CBS and ESPN.
SEC Digital Network: Each institution gets one football game in which they can use for pay-per-view. How does the institution select the game?
The one pay per view game each season is designated by ESPN. The institution has the right to do the game on pay per view or pass on the game. If the institution passes then ESPN is obligated to telecast the game on one of its platforms.
SEC Digital Network: The SEC’s contractual television partners have “windows” for its telecast. Some “windows” are exclusive and some are not. Can you explain how that works?
There are really three windows, the early window (12 -12:30 ET); the afternoon window (3:30 ET) and the night time window (7 -7:45 ET). CBS has exclusivity in the afternoon window and the one prime window they are allowed to do each season. CBS does not have exclusivity in the noon window. CBS cannot televise outside of these windows so ESPN has exclusivity for all of its platforms and often does games at the same time on different platforms.
SEC Digital Network: Can you explain the revenue distribution from the network contracts each year?
TV revenue is split evenly among the member institutions. The only exception is that the host team for a Thursday night (ESPN) or Friday afternoon (CBS) telecast is paid an additional $300,000 for hosting a game on a nontraditional date.