New SEC network provides valuable opportunities for students

bo jackson

The School of Communication and Journalism and Auburn Athletics have partnered to allow students the opportunity to learn about sports production and contribute content to the SEC Network. Athletics is teaching “Introduction to Sports Video Production” for the School’s majors in the fall.

“Our students will have experience shooting live sporting events for broadcast and the Web, “ said Jennifer Adams, director of the School of Communication and Journalism. “Students will also have the opportunity to do play-by-play announcing, producing and the possibility of serving as on-air talent for some of the shows Auburn Athletics plans to develop.”

During a panel discussion held on Friday, April 18, ESPN Vice President of Production for College Networks Stephanie Druley, and ESPN host and play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore spoke to Auburn students, alumni and fans in the Foy Auditorium for a sneak peek into the launch of the SEC Network. There was also a special appearance by Bo Jackson.

According to Druley, the SEC Network will debut on August 14th, and will cover 45 football games, 160 basketball games, 75 baseball games and 50 softball games. The SEC Network is partnering with Auburn and other communication schools and departments in the SEC to help provide content 24 hours-a-day.  

“We want people to feel like we know their hometown, and know it well,” Druley said. “It should feel like home when you’re watching our games.”

Joe Tessitore will host “SEC Nation,” a traveling football pre-game show that will air every Saturday from a different SEC campus. Tessitore said that subscribers to the SEC Network will experience their very own version of ESPN’s “Game Day.”

“Now the SEC is going to have a conference-specific version of their own, but with a new twist. The SEC is the best division, the best entity in all of all American sports, and we are going to show the rest of the nation the passion, the tradition, the field, the atmosphere of what it’s like to be on campus on an SEC football Saturday,” Tessitore said. “I want folks in New York and Chicago to say, ‘that’s why going to an SEC football game is on my bucket list.’ I want them to see the colors, the pageantry and I want them to be able to smell that tailgate and understand that this experience is what it’s all about. And why it has been so special for so many years for so many people.”

Tessitore said that viewers will still receive the top-quality football analysis and reporting they are used to getting from ESPN. “SEC Nation” will come to Auburn before the Auburn vs. Arkansas game on Aug. 30.

In addition to talking about the new network and its programming, Tessitore and Druley took questions from the audience and discussed the importance of communicating effectively.

“The ability to write is the ability to broadcast,” Tessitore said. “Write well, write often. I think of myself as a writer who happens to be in front of a camera. Find your voice. Here at Auburn, you have such a wonderful school and athletic department and so many opportunities to gain that experience.”

Bo Jackson joined Tessitore on stage and talked to the audience about his love for Auburn and the state of Alabama. Jackson made several stops on campus that day to promote “Bo Bikes Bama,” an annual charity fundraiser to benefit the state’s emergency relief fund. Jackson began “Bo Bikes Bama” in response to the devastating tornadoes that hit Alabama in 2011. Jackson said he was determined to do something for the place he considers home.

“I’m proud to call Alabama home,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from in Alabama, we need to come together and support each other when a disaster hits.”

Jackson took questions from the audience and was asked about the best advice to succeed in life. Jackson, who was named the greatest athlete of all-time by ESPN last year, said, “I’ll tell you what I tell my own kids: Concentrate on school. Do what you’re supposed to be doing and don’t let peer pressure get to you.”

Jackson will be featured in an upcoming documentary titled, “Bo, Barkley and The Big Hurt,”  a retrospective look on a rare moment in time when three of the country’s greatest athletes overlapped at Auburn. The documentary is scheduled to air on August 21, on the SEC Network.

Written by Vicky Santos, Director of External Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University. 

Last Updated: May 27, 2014