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Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand reported that CBS has decided to conclude its association with Southeastern Conference (SEC) football after its contact with them expires following the 2023 football season. The late Saturday afternoon package for the SEC has been the most-watched college football telecast, on average, per week for the past decade.
CBS Sports had allegedly submitted a bid for $300 million per season — more than five times its current $55 million/season rate. However, it is rumored that ESPN/ABC is bidding well above the $300 million amount, causing CBS to exit negotiations. Fox Sports is also planning to enter a bid for the SEC. There also exists the possibility that the conference or the winning network could buy out the remaining years of CBS’s contract and the SEC could switch off of CBS even sooner than 2023.
CBS has been the home to the SEC’s premier games since 1996. Their public relation staff emailed Sports Business Daily the following statement: “We made a strong and responsible bid. While we‘ve had success with the SEC on CBS, we are instead choosing to aggressively focus on other important strategic priorities moving forward.”
Since recently merging with Viacom, CBS has acquired UEFA Champions League soccer and extended their deal with PGA Tour golf. It’s expected CBS will make an aggressive bid for the upcoming renewal of NFL rights fees. Although they stepped away from SEC college football, CBS may also make a play for the Big Ten (joining Fox Sports) in the coming years.