Supporting the Most Successful Network Launch in Cable History
Issue: In preparation for the launch of their newest broadcast property, The SEC Network, in August 2014, ESPN turned to Coyne PR for assistance in raising national and regional brand awareness for the network among consumers and—importantly—potential carriage providers.
Idea: Coyne devised a two-pronged approach to media outreach: elevate the launch of the SEC Network as a must-have national outlet, while maintaining a particularly strong drumbeat in existing SEC hotbed markets. To expand the network’s media footprint nationally, Coyne leveraged tried-and-true ESPN network talent, including Jesse Palmer, Brent Musburger and Paul Finebaum, as well as new, high-profile additions to the ESPN family specific to the soon-to-launch network, such as Tim Tebow. In an effort to fuel the fan fire down south, particularly in SEC-specific markets, Coyne placed SEC Network talent and executives in front of regional print and radio outlets on an almost weekly basis, and booked SEC Network talent on a month-long regional radio media tour to drive a steady drumbeat of local market press coverage. Lastly, Coyne introduced and educated sports business industry influencers by offering a behind-the-scenes look at the process of launching a network, coordinating an intimate media luncheon in New York City with SEC Network leader Justin Connolly and lead play-by-play voice Musburger with media.
Impact: By the time it launched on August 14, 2014, every major cable provider in the country was on board to carry the SEC Network, and it is considered to be the most successful network launch in cable history. Coyne generated significant national press coverage for SEC Network talent and executives including features in the Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, Delta Sky, American Airlines and JetSet Magazine, as well as top-tier regional outlets in key SEC markets such as Atlanta Magazine, Gainesville Magazine, 002 Houston and The South, among many others.