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Verizon will carry SEC Network starting Thursday

TAMPA — A lonely holdout in the Tampa Bay area, Verizon has now cut a deal to carry the SEC Network, just days before college football broadcasts are scheduled to begin.

Company officials confirmed that Verizon will park the highly popular sports station at channel number 75 in standard definition and 575 in high definition, and soon make the channel available through mobile devices as well.

“We welcome the SEC Network to FiOS TV and look forward to carrying the studio content and athletic events it will offer, including the season-opening football doubleheader on Aug. 28,” said Terry Denson, Verizon’s vice president for content acquisition and strategy in a statement.

“The preseason college poll lists eight SEC teams in the top 25; SEC football ratings are head and shoulders above other conferences; and SEC fans are extraordinarily and uniquely passionate about not only those teams but the entire conference as well.”

The deal also includes rights to watch the channel through the FiOS Mobile app “in the near future,” Verizon said.

The first SEC Network matchup is set for 6 p.m. Thursday — Texas A&M versus South Carolina. The University of Florida is scheduled to appear on the SEC Network Sept. 6 against Eastern Michigan and then on Sept. 13 against the University of Kentucky.

Rival cable TV provider Bright House Networks already had a deal to carry the channel, and just last week the company announced that the channel will be added to a streaming system that allows customers to watch live TV anywhere in their house via iPads, Android-based mobile devices and other display gadgets.

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