ACC Network will launch by Aug 2019, GOR extended until 2036

Woah, big news out of the ACC…and during Big 12 media days where they said a couple months ago that TV networks weren’t feasible anymore.

The conference’s grant of rights makes it untenable financially for a school to leave, guaranteeing in the 20 years of the deal that a school’s media rights, including revenue, for all home games would remain with the ACC regardless of the school’s affiliation.

“When the ACC Network revenues are included, the ACC will be very competitive with the upper tier [Big Ten and SEC] of the Power 5 leagues,” a source said.

Welp Big 12, Florida State and Clemson ain’t walking through that door.

Overshadowed by the big news, the ACC meetings kicked off Thursday. Here’s some reports from it:



Though there was plenty of speculation that the ACC might launch an over-the-top (direct to consumer) network similar to the HBO Now streaming service, Jordan said the plan was always to create a linear channel. “There’s not an over-the-top model that has been proven successful,” Jordan said. “Even ones that are successful are not what they thought they’d be.” So while the ACC will have the digital capability to shift with the times, it also will have the cachet provided by its own channel. More importantly, it will have the stability Swofford has sought since he began pondering how to secure the league’s future in 2003.

But the ACC Network means more than money. Duke athletics director Kevin White, chair of the ACC’s TV committee put it like this:

“We can’t be a real Power Five player without a network.”

What an ACC Network means as the Big 12 is now alone without a channel
Even though it was under a bit of pressure, ESPN and the ACC got this deal done

The ACC has teams in nine states – including some very heavily-populated areas – that total about 29 million cable and satellite subscribers. The question with all of these conference channels is whether there’s enough viewership demand to get the desired subscription rates, especially as more people cut the cord with cable and satellite TV.

It’s a package deal along with a nine-year grant of rights extension through 2035-36 with the league’s longtime TV rights partner.

Notre Dame is the trump card for the ACC Network’s future
All eyes will be on the broadcast future of football for the Fighting Irish.

If ESPN and/or the ACC is holding out hope for Notre Dame football, it’s going to have to be a long play. Three years ago, the school extended its contract with NBC through 2025. Theoretically, the Irish could start playing a full ACC schedule before then, but the ACC Network would not hold rights to their home games. Not to mention NBC is paying for a national schedule.

ACC Network to debut in era of cost-cutting

ACC Network’s first test comes next summer when ESPN starts negotiating a new affiliate deal with Altice, a negotiation that promises to be a tough sell since the cable operator has systems near New York City, which is a long way from ACC member Syracuse and not really part of the conference’s footprint. One of the few cable operators that does not carry SEC Network, Altice has been public about its desire to cut costs.

ACC May Move to Nine-Game Conference Schedule

The ACC’s possible expansion to a nine-game conference schedule may be arriving at a conclusion. The conference’s athletic directors are scheduled to have a conference call Friday and Georgia Tech Athletic Director Mike Bobinski said Saturday that he expects the issue will be on the agenda.

Bobinski said that Tech would be in favor of the eight-plus-two model because of its annual game with Georgia and the ACC’s contracted games with Notre Dame. Were the ACC to move to a nine-game league schedule format, Tech would periodically play the nine league games, Georgia and Notre Dame, a rather heavy slate.

Babcock, the Hokies’ athletic director, ballparks the infrastructure cost at $5 million-$7 million. His colleagues at the University of Virginia concur.

Well, many of those costs are about higher requirements at launch. Schools are expected to be capable of producing multiple linear-quality broadcasts at once, in addition to digital broadcasts and videoboard content. Each school will have four to five control rooms, with at least two with linear capabilities, and there are plenty of further costs out there, ranging from $100,000 for a camera platform to $1 million to run fiber-optic cable from the venues to the control rooms. Oh, and at some schools like North Carolina, there are major construction or renovation costs (around $4 million in the Tar Heels’ case) just to get suitable space for these control rooms.

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