As the SEC Network prepares to begin its seventh SEC football season on Saturday, Front row Meeting with the Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions of the SEC Network,
For nearly 25 years of his tenure at ESPN, Turner has worked closely at conferences since 2009 and was an integral part of the network’s launch.
The SEC network had six months without live games until the return of soccer last weekend, and the first Saturday of the college football network began yesterday. Now that we’re here, what have you learned about the SEC Network and its audience in the absence of live sports?
Turner: We’re definitely glad to have Live Sports back. While this is certainly not surprising, the last six months have only confirmed that SEC fans and viewers on our network are incredibly emotional. Their popularity does not diminish. We have no strangers to being weak in the schedule of any of the live programs. This is an annual event every summer. This time, however, it came so suddenly and without warning that it left fans eager to interact with their teams and schools.
Audience feedback hasn’t stopped, and even during long periods of taped programming and re-broadcasting, viewers have been ‘suggesting’ that we show this or less. Thank goodness for their passion. Without them, the network would not be as successful as we have been.
Now that we’re here, people are saying ‘Christmas Eve’ before football starts tomorrow, a whole slate of SEC Network studios and actual programming, a whole day of football on Saturday, and the start of two new ones. Shows the weekend. This time it didn’t slow us down a bit.
The epidemic disrupted live sports during the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville. Tell us about that day and the next day for your team. How did you adjust to the flight?
Turner: We went from a full day of preparation for the men’s basketball tournament action to a full stop. Our studio team flew from Nashville to cover the moment’s news and get feedback. In moments like these, I think it’s important to keep your experience in mind to guide your next move. That’s what we did. By creating a summer stop program after the network launched, we realized we could buy ourselves time by going to a 14-day school takeover. Once this is done, we have time to evaluate and plan for the future.
The creativity shown by the entire team was fantastic. Programming, production, marketing, sales, social… everyone has done great work through creative problem solving and innovation. I am very proud of the whole team.
– Programming and Acquisitions, Chris Turner’s SEC Network VP.
Creativity has been at its best over the last six months. How did your team innovate for the network program?
Turner: The creativity shown by the entire team was fantastic. Programming, production, marketing, sales, social… everyone has done great work through creative problem solving and innovation. I am very proud of the whole team. Especially for the programming team, we’ve worked hard to re-broadcast and taped programming to feel fresh. Maintaining our relationship with fans has been key, and we’ve used our digital assets to do just that. For example, it was important to continue your studio programs from home and enter the digital and social space with our show. The production team turned around so quickly and actually asked, ‘How do we serve our fans from home?’ Was the first to sink into the question. The content they create demonstrates just how flexible and flexible our networks are.
. . . We should come out from the other side of this training on how to do things differently. More efficiently. – Turner
The programming department works so closely with so many different teams throughout the company. Looking back over the last six months, do you have a plan that moves you forward from your strategy and / or workflow perspective?
Turner: I was in a hurry on a zoom call where new technologies were being discussed that would enable us to create and edit content from home. I then remarked that if nothing else, we should come out on the other side of learning how to do things differently. More efficiently. I think we see more play from now on in-house announcers and the expansion of our school production initiative. In short, we interview people in our homes. I have become accustomed to seeing giving. While it’s always nice to have everyone sitting around the same desk, we can accomplish our goals without it.
Your team has put together marathons, takeovers, programming stunts and more. Have you had a favorite programming piece or stunt for the last six months?
Turner: I’ve really enjoyed seeing some of the old ones Collection Movies. That franchise predates the SEC network and seeing them is a reminder of how far we have come with our SEC relationship. I started working with the league in 2009 and was part of the creation and launch of the SEC Network. I hope everyone has the opportunity to reflect on the good work we have done and continue to highlight the achievements of student-athletes, promote the conference and continue to serve our fans.