SoCon announces digital network, TV deal

SoCon basketball and football games can be seen on the SoCon Digital Network this year. (File photo)

In recent years, Southern Conference football and basketball games have been hard to find on TV or the internet as the league struggled to find a broadcast partner and fell behind the curve in web-streaming.

That situation should improve starting this football season. The SoCon announced Tuesday that it will launch in late August the SoCon Digital Network, a free web-streaming service that includes The Citadel and the nine other member schools.

Last week, the league announced an agreement with the newly formed American Sports Network, which will broadcast league games on Sinclair Broadcast Group affiliates throughout the Southeast. The ASN, which also has agreements with the Big South and Colonial Athletic Association, will broadcast a minimum of 18 SoCon events in 2014-15, including six football games.

In Charleston, the ASN station is likely to be either WMMP or WTAT.

With eight games set for ESPN3 and six for ASN, the SoCon will have 14 football games broadcast this year, in addition to games on the SoCon Digital Network.

"This is the most robust TV package Southern Conference football has enjoyed in quite some time," said commissioner John Iamarino. "We'll have at least one game broadcast in 11 of the 12 weeks during the season, and several dates will feature two games. We're very pleased to continue our relationship with ESPN and launch a new one with the American Sports Network."

The league spent some $2 million for video and audio equipment for member schools to enable the launch of the SoCon Digital Network, which will stream high definition video through the schools' websites and through the league's official site,

"The creation of the SoCon Digital Network is a milestone for this conference," Iamarino said. "This has long been one of our primary goals to enhance the value our institutions and their student-athletes receive from being affiliated with the Southern Conference."

The SoCon Digital Network will feature live broadcasts of games not selected for national or regional outlets, and will include highlight packages and coaches shows. The network will begin with football, volleyball and men's and women's basketball, but eventually will include soccer, baseball, softball, men's lacrosse and wrestling.

A league spokesman said that for 2014-15, all home contests (conference and non-conference) in football, volleyball and basketball that are not already carried by a national or regional network will be on the SoCon Digital Network.