ACC kicks off with announcement to launch television network by 2019

Sara D. Davis,
Let 'em know

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference will launch the ACC Network – a comprehensive linear and digital network in full operation by 2019, as was announced by ACC Commissioner John Swofford and ESPN President John Skipper on Thursday.

During the opening session of the annual ACC Football Kickoff media event staged at the Westin Charlotte Hotel, Swofford highlighted the 20-year partnership that will provide ACC fans unprecedented access to live events via a comprehensive, multi-platform network.

With conference coaches of various sports sitting to his side, the commissioner pointed out how the partnership will extend the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036, as the network is the ACC’s exclusive worldwide rights holder.

“This is a remarkable time for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the strength of our schools, our sports, our coaches, our players and our fans is at an all-time high,” Swofford said.

“We’re very, very well-positioned for the future.”

Beginning in August 2016, fans will be able to access more than 600 exclusive live events from across the conference via a digital live-events channel, known as ACC Network Extra, immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with that number growing each year.

More than 1,300 ACC events will be distributed across the platforms in 2019 when the linear network launches.

“As we thought about our media future, it was important to us that we take advantage of an emerging distribution technology,” Swofford pointed out.

“ESPN’s leadership position in this space will benefit all of our sponsored sports.”

When fully implemented, the linear network will feature 450 exclusive live events including 40 regular-season football games, more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, more than 200 other regular-season contests and tournament games from across the conference’s 27-sponsored sports, plus a complement of news and information shows and original programming.

ESPN has been televising ACC content since 1979 and has exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and conference sports matchups, as well as all ACC championship events.

“We look forward to working with our longtime partners at the ACC to create a network that reflects the depth and quality of its athletes and teams, and serves the fans who passionately support them,” Skipper said.

“We are proud and excited to add the ACC Network to our industry-leading college content offerings.”