SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Southern Conference, in conjunction with its marketing partner CSE, announced today (July 11) the league has agreed to a three-year plan with public television systems in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to televise the conference's football package.  The distribution platform will reach nearly 11 million homes through 32 affiliates, making it the largest regional distribution option across both broadcast and cable.  The conference's football package for the 2011 season was also announced as part of the agreement.

"We're genuinely excited by the partnership with Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina public stations," said Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino.  "This is an important step for us. It increases our previous reach by two million households, while allowing us to control our rights and our content, and it enables us to use this partnership to promote and publicize not only SoCon football, but other educational activities taking place on our campuses."

This unique partnership provides each of the three state public television networks state-wide distribution of Southern Conference football games in 2011, 2012 and 2013, with coverage from Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media) also covering the Chattanooga, Tenn., market.  The league is exploring additional distribution outlets in Alabama and Tennessee.  The plan calls for an eight-game football package each fall.

"Working with the Southern Conference to broadcast these games is a real coup for viewers of public television and the thousands of alumni who live in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina," says Teya Ryan, President and Executive Director of GPB Media.  "There is nothing like football to bring communities together and with our focus on K-12 education and improving high school graduation rates, this partnership is a perfect fit.  It's also very exciting to partner with our fellow public broadcasters as a team and reach out to communities across the region."

The new agreement signals a shift for the conference from previous television agreements.  The league, along with CSE, will now produce each telecast and will also retain the rights.  In addition, the league will have control over pregame, halftime and postgame content while both parties will have an equal share of the sponsor breaks.  Additionally, the Conference, along with the statewide public television networks, will have the ability to simulcast the games on their website, so fans not in-state can cheer on their school. Eagle Vision webcasts of the Chattanooga and Furman games will allow Georgia Southern fans to watch the contests and listen to their broadcast team of Chris Blair, Terry Harvin and Ryan Chambers.

"Our goal was to find a consistent broadcast schedule for the SoCon Game of the Week," said CSE's Senior Vice President Programming, Media Services, Ned Simon.  "SoCon and public television's high standards bode well for not just the growth of their partnership, but for each organization's individual growth as well." 

The 2011 broadcast package begins October 1 when last year's co-champions, Appalachian State and Wofford square off in Spartanburg, S.C.  Each of the eight televised games will also be streamed live and archived through the conference web site, on the individual public television sites. 

"This new partnership opens up a whole new market to the Southern Conference, its member schools and athletics programs," said Richard Johnson, Director of Athletics at Wofford College and President of the league's Athletic Directors.  "It's a great opportunity to be able to partner 12 institutions of higher learning with public television to help each other with viewership.  This new model is something that if successful, will be replicated by other leagues."

The conference office is also working with each of the three state systems to put together a similar distribution network to carry men's and women's regular season basketball games, as well as the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament in March 2012.

Georgia Southern fans can stay up to date with the latest news and information at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com or check in at facebook.com/GSAthletics or twitter.com/GSAthletics for short updates.

2011 Southern Conference Football Telecast Schedule

Date

Teams

Time

Oct. 1

Appalachian State at Wofford

3 p.m.

Oct. 8

Chattanooga at Georgia Southern

3 p.m.

Oct. 15

Furman at Georgia Southern

3 p.m.

Oct. 22

Chattanooga at Elon

3 p.m.

Oct. 29 Georgia Southern at Appalachian State
3 p.m.
Nov. 5 Wofford at Western Carolina
3 p.m.
Nov. 12 Samford at The Citadel
3 p.m.
Nov. 19 Wofford at Western Carolina
3 p.m.

*ALL TIMES EASTERN

SoCon Sports Network Television Affiliates

Georgia Public Broadcasting

North Carolina (UNC-TV)

South Carolina (SCETV)

Atlanta - WVTV

Asheville - WUNF

Allendale - WEBA

Chatsworth/Dalton - WNGH

Canton/Waynesville - WUNW

Beaufort - WJWJ

Cochran/Macon - WMUM

Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham - WUNC

Charleston - WITV

Columbus - WJSP

Charlotte/Concord - WUNG

Columbia - WRLK

Dawson - WACS

Edenton - WUND

Conway/Myrtle Beach - WHMC

Pelham - WABW

Greenville - WUNK

Florence - WJPM

Savannah - WVAN

Jacksonville - WUNM

Greenville - WNTV

Waycross - WXGA

Linville - WUNE

Greenwood - WNEH

Wrens/Augusta - WCES

Lumberton - WUNU

Rock Hill - WNSC

 

Roanoke Rapids - WUNP

Spartanburg - WRET

 

Wilmington - WUNJ

Sumter - WRJA

 

Winston-Salem - WUNL

 

ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE
The Southern Conference, entering its 91st season of intercollegiate competition, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and helping build lifelong leaders and role models.  The conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics.  From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921), tackling the issues of freshman eligibility (1922), developing women's championships (1984) to becoming the first conference to install the three-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer.  The Southern Conference is the nation's fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association.   The conference currently consists of 12 members in five states throughout the southeast and sponsors 19 varsity sports and championships that produce participants for NCAA Division I Championships.

ABOUT CSE
Established in 1986 as a pioneer in sports representation and marketing, CSE has evolved into one of the nation's top independently owned integrated sports and entertainment agencies, supporting major Fortune 500 clients. CSE connects brands with fans by provides services in a number of areas including marketing, talent management, advertising, production, creative and digital.  CSE differentiates themselves with a mission to create and nurture relationships. For more information, please visit www.groupcse.com.

ABOUT GPB MEDIA
As one of the highest rated PBS stations in the nation, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media) has been creating content worth sharing for over 50 years.  With nine television stations, 17 radio stations and a multi-faceted web presence, GPB strives to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of our viewers and listeners with programming that includes statewide radio news, current affairs, high school sports, educational resources for teachers and students and enlightening programs about our state like Georgia Traveler, Georgia Outdoors and Today in Georgia History. Learn on GPB.org 

ABOUT UNC-TV
UNC-TV is North Carolina's 12-station statewide public television network, bringing life-changing television to more than 4 million viewers a week.  UNC-TV is a service of the University of North Carolina, and is made possible by a unique combination of public investment and private support.  In addition to UNC-TV, the network includes UNC-EX, the Explorer Channel, UNC-KD, with programming that's Just for Kids, and UNC-MX, a digital cable-only channel with an eclectic mix of programming.  Get even more from UNC-TV online at www.unctv.org, and keep up to date on the latest happenings on Facebook and Twitter.

ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA ETV
South Carolina ETV is the state's public educational broadcasting network with 11 television transmitters, 8 radio frequencies and a multi-media educational system in more than 2,500 schools, colleges, businesses and government agencies. Using television, radio and the web, SCETV's mission is to enrich lives by educating children, informing and connecting citizens, celebrating our culture and environment and instilling the joy of learning.