CBS Sports this afternoon will announce it will distribute live online simulcasts of its weekly coverage of SEC football on CBSSports.com, providing yet another level to the extensive, long-term relationship between the conference and network. The free simulcasts will begin Saturday with Georgia-South Carolina. The online games technically begin a year ahead of the formal start of the 15-year contract extension struck last month between CBS and the SEC, and when that deal was announced, network officials said they were still considering future live streaming of games. But in actuality, the online games this year are also part of the extension and "we just weren't ready [then] to announce it (for this year)," said CBSSports.com Senior VP & GM Jason Kint. Kint: "We now have a large and growing amount of data that continues to show this type of initiative is not cannibalistic [to TV] and is in fact additive. So we're pushing ahead. The sooner we can make content like this available, the better." Advertising on the online versions of the SEC games will be identical to the spots shown on the national feed of the game, though the video stream will begin with pre-roll advertising. The CBS-SEC streaming deal is currently for just 17 football games stretching through the conference championship game, Kint said, though discussions are ongoing for the upcoming basketball season.
By Eric Fisher, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal