The University of Florida and Fox’s Sun Sports have signed a media rights deal that is not only one of the most lucrative in the country, but also could end the likelihood of an SEC channel being created any time soon.
The deal will pay Florida’s marketing arm, the University Athletic Association, roughly $10 million a year for the next 10 years. Florida, one of the Southeastern Conference’s most marketable schools, was one of the few major colleges that handled many of its marketing and media rights in-house.
The deal also could be a sign that an SEC channel — modeled after the Big Ten Network — is not in the offing, industry analysts speculated. While the deal itself would not preclude the SEC from creating a channel, its timing, just weeks before the conference picks its new TV partners, suggests that such a channel is unlikely.
The deal will give Sun Sports, a regional sports network that reaches 6 million homes in Florida, a bundle of multimedia rights that includes everything from local TV, broadband and radio to on-site signage and corporate partnerships.
The rights include tape-delayed football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and Olympic sports. One of Sun Sports’ most profitable shows is “Breakfast with the Gators,” a Sunday morning replay of the previous day’s football game.