CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Syracuse Orange women’s basketball coach Quentin Hillsman liked what he heard when Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) commissioner John Swofford announced the conference’s new TV deal at the 2016 ACC Kickoff on Thursday at the Westin Charlotte.
Yes, the announcement was made at a football media relations event as the upcoming season approaches, but the partnership with ESPN not only got the approval of gridiron bench leaders, but those on the hardwood as well.
“The added exposure is going to be so huge for our conference,” 2016 NCAA-finalist coach Hillsman said.
“I really believe that we have the best conference in the country in women’s basketball and anytime that you have a network that can showcase that and highlight your games is going to be tremendous. It’s gonna help recruiting a ton because now we can definitely become a national brand. It’s a remarkable deal.”
For Katie Meier, who played at Duke (1986-1990), and is a long-serving coach in the conference, having recently completed her 11th season with the Miami Hurricanes, the progression of the women’s game and the added exposure it will receive will accelerate in the coming years.
When the network is fully implemented by 2019, the linear network will feature 450 exclusive live events including 40 regular-season football games, and more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games
“It’s massive,” Meier said.
“I think we’re the sport that’s really going to benefit the most from it because the quality of play in our league is just amazing and we needed that national platform. For us, a lot of time football is on a national platform, and men’s basketball is on it too, but for women’s basketball – we’ve had teams in the Final Four, we’ve got eight in the Top 25 – and we needed to go national. The women’s basketball coaches (in the conference) are rejoicing today. This has been huge for our sport.”