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Charter customers want SEC Network

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#1
The Joker

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Dan Morris: Charter customers want SEC Network


uly 17 was the 40th anniversary of my arrival in Jackson to begin work as a sports writer at The Jackson Sun.
For you math-challenged readers, that was 1974, which turned out to be an historic summer for Jackson sports. The American Legion baseball team won the state title and advanced to the regionals. During the rain-delayed state tournament, I watched the motel television as President Richard Nixon resigned on Aug. 9.

Meanwhile, the Jackson Little League all-stars shined the brightest. They won a string of heart-stopping games to earn state and south-region championships and became the only Jackson team to play in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa.
They lost 1-0 to Venezuela in the opener but crushed Canada and New Haven, Conn., in the consolation bracket. Taiwan won its fourth consecutive championship that year.

While baseball was big in the summer of '74, I quickly learned that football ruled. The first preseason football section I worked on had Brownsville native Rockey Felker on the cover. It was his senior season as quarterback at Mississippi State University, and he made the most of it. The Bulldogs finished 9-3 and beat North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. Felker was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by the Nashville Banner newspaper.

Growing up in Middle Tennessee with a sports-loving father, it was in my blood to cheer for both the Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt Commodores and appreciate the rich heritage of Southeastern Conference football. That was solidified even more during the 1990s when I covered University of Tennessee football and watched games at each stadium in the Southeastern Conference.

SEC Network
So it doesn't surprise me one bit that a firestorm is brewing among subscribers of Charter Communications about its delay in adding the new SEC Network to its cable television lineup. As of Saturday, Charter was the only system among the nation's top five cable television companies that has not signed to carry the SEC Network.

ESPN, as part of a 20-year deal with the Southeastern Conference, will launch the SEC Network on Aug. 14. It will feature unprecedented television coverage of SEC sports, including about 45 football games, 100 men's and 60 women's basketball games and 75 baseball games annually.

The SEC Network plans to air three football games involving SEC teams each Saturday and feature all 14 conference members within the first month of this football season.

The lure of such complete football coverage is causing the present uproar among Charter customers. They want to see the SEC Network's first live, regular-season games on Thursday, Aug. 28, when South Carolina plays Texas A&M and Vanderbilt plays Temple.
On Aug. 30, the network will show Tennessee Martin at Kentucky, Arkansas at Auburn and Southern Mississippi at Mississippi State.
And on Sunday, Aug. 31, the network will feature Utah State at Tennessee at 6 p.m. CDT.

Most Charter customers have alternative satellite and cable choices in their communities. Jackson has the Jackson Energy Authority cable TV, which has already announced it will carry the SEC Network.

Our household has been a Charter customer since it became available in Jackson. But if Charter does not offer the SEC Network, my bride of 32 years says we are jumping ship and signing with a company that will provide the network. She is an Alabama graduate and wants to see every Crimson Tide football game, even if it's Florida Atlantic at Alabama on Sept. 6.

She is not alone. You can Google the SEC Network and find a list of Facebook posts from fans ranting about Charter's lack of urgency in signing to carry the network.

Nathan writes to Charter, "There is a whole region of people wanting this channel. Stop dragging your feet and carry the channel or you will lose a LOT of customers."

Aaron writes, "Seriously, you are going to make thousands of people in SEC country miss Tennessee's first two games? Every time I see your commercial, you always brag about satisfied customers, but do these people (who are writing about the network) look happy to you? Actions speak louder than words! Charter, put up or shut up! I'm switching if you do not get the network."

And then there's Mike, who writes, "I just called Charter customer service. Nice lady was in Wisconsin and never heard of the SEC. Not a good sign. I pay over $200 a month to Charter. I will change if (the SEC Network) is not carried."

I am betting that Charter will come through and carry the network. It has too many SEC fans as subscribers who won't be happy otherwise. If you are among them, you can encourage Charter to add the SEC Network by calling (888) 438-2427 or by going to this website: www.getsecnetwork.com.

After all, who could stand to miss seeing a second of action when Lamar plays Texas A&M or Sam Houston State visits LSU?
Dan Morris can be reached at 668-1709 or by email at [email protected]

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DjCrenshaw

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