SEC football is a religion in the South. So schools were understandably concerned that their fans and alumni might not be able to access ESPN’s new network. That’s why it was critical that ESPN target these markets early with special events and messaging, spurring them to sign up at GetSECNetwork.com. Over 14 months, ESPN had more than a dozen grassroots events spreading the word. It also made sure to get execs and announcers appearing at industry events in “pressure markets” to help drive distribution. The crusade continued right up to its August launch, with special media events (a preview of the net in Charlotte and a NYC media day). The high demand and extensive MVPD deals have led some to declare it one of the most successful network launches in cable history.