The Vassallo Interviews — Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor who interviews Oxford’s and our region’s leading personalities.
“The University of Mississippi (as well as Oxford) has another reason to be proud! Charlie Hussey, Oxford native and Ole Miss alum, has recently been named the Associate Commissioner of Network Relations for the newly created SEC Network. Charlie brings a wealth of experience into this exciting position.”
HottyToddy.com — The SEC Network has all sports fans very excited! How did the idea originate?
Charlie Hussey — We began thinking about our own network back in 2008. We (the SEC Office) had to make a strategic decision whether we remained with the traditional grant of rights, or started our own Network. We ultimately decided to continue with long term agreements with CBS and ESPN. However with the expansion of the conference, we had an opportunity to re-examine our television plans and that ultimately led to the creation of the SEC Network.
HottyToddy.com — Will all football games involving an SEC team be televised?
Charlie Hussey — All SEC controlled games, meaning games originating from an SEC institutions campus, will be televised. CBS has the first pick of games followed by the SEC Network, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU in no particular order. Fox Sports Net also has a five game package for the 2014 season.
HottyToddy.com — Will the SEC basketball schedule be impacted via the new network?
Charlie Hussey — Absolutely. SEC men’s basketball will be featured heavily on the Network and ESPN. Fans can expect SEC basketball on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday nights in addition to the Saturday/Sunday telecasts.
HottyToddy.com — It is my understanding that you have Oxford and Ole Miss roots.
Charlie Hussey — That is correct. I was raised in Oxford and graduated from Oxford High School as well as Ole Miss. My father is Chair of the Chemistry Department at the University and mother served as the librarian at Oxford High School for 25 years.
HottyToddy.com — We just learned that the first two Ole Miss home games (LA Lafayette and Memphis) will be 3:30 starts. What are the possibilities for the Alabama game?
Charlie Hussey — There are several possible time slots including 11 a.m.; 2:30 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 6:30 p.m. to name a few.
HottyToddy.com — Will the SEC Network consider the sports of tennis and track?
Charlie Hussey — Great question. The SEC has fantastic teams and student athletes in a myriad of sports and we plan to showcase this talent in some form or fashion. In fact, on August 22nd the first SEC Network broadcast originating from an SEC campus is the Ole Miss-Georgia soccer competition in Oxford.
HottyToddy.com — The Golf Channel (whose idea is attributed to Arnold Palmer) has been a huge success. Did this in any way inspire you?
Charlie Hussey — The golf channel has certainly been successful, but I’m not sure it was a driving factor. Our fan base is very strong both regionally and nationally and that coupled with the unique opportunity we had to partner with ESPN and showcase the SEC in a way never done before weighed heavily into the decision.
HottyToddy.com — Your office is in Birmingham. Will this remain so?
Charlie Hussey — Yes. While the Network office will be based in Charlotte, the SEC office will remain in Birmingham where it has been since 1948. The first conference office was in Jackson, MS (1940-46). The first commissioner was Martin Conner, former Governor of the state of Mississippi. When he became ill, the decision was made to move the office for the new commissioner to a more centralized location. Atlanta and Birmingham were the two options with the preference being to not locate the office in the city of a member school. With Georgia Tech in the league at the time, the decision was made to move to Birmingham.
HottyToddy.com — Will the SEC expand its sphere of influence now with the new network reaching into major markets such as Los Angeles and New York?
Charlie Hussey — Yes. We are a national network and will available in all major markets.
HottyToddy.com — One would think that on the surface that the increase in revenues for the member institutions would strengthen all programs.
Charlie Hussey — We are hopeful that all member institutions will benefit.
HottyToddy.com — HottyToddy.com — Is it possible that the SEC network could influence greater cross sectional rivalries, for example, with Alabama playing Notre Dame each year or Ole Miss taking on Penn State?
Charlie Hussey — It is not a product of the SEC Network, but the conference has made the decision that each conference member will play a non conference opponent for one of the other big four conferences (ACC, PAC- 12, Big 12 or Big Ten) on an annual basis.
HottyToddy.com — Will the SEC Network generate significant employment opportunities?
Charlie Hussey — It already has. ESPN has just hired 120 full time staff members to run the Network in Charlotte.
HottyToddy.com — Will there be multiple SEC games (football) aired simultaneously?
Charlie Hussey — Yes, SEC football will live on CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and the SEC Network and games will occur simultaneously.
HottyToddy.com — We were excited to just learn that Metrocast in Oxford will carry the network.
Charlie Hussey — We have been very pleased with the level of distribution reached so far. Metrocast is an important piece of the puzzle.
HottyToddy.com — When will you be returning to Oxford?
Charlie Hussey — I hope to attend the August 22nd Ole Miss-Georgia soccer match as well as a football game this Fall.
Charlie Hussey is a prime example that great careers can be spawned from the historic campus located in Oxford, Mississippi. And not only great careers, but exciting ones in addition. The newly-formed SEC Network will be well represented!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford. Steve’s lifelong dream has been to live in Oxford full-time. “I am now living my dream daily as is my wife Rosie, who works with the Oxford Chamber of Commerce,” Steve said. You can contact Steve at email@example.com call him at 985-852-7745.
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