Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford and ESPN president John Skipper officially announced the ACC Network today at the ACC’s annual Football Kickoff event in Charlotte, North Carolina.
ESPN and the ACC have extended their media rights partnership through 2035-36. The 20-year partnership will give fans access to ACC content on a streaming digital network beginning this fall (2016), and a traditional linear TV channel will launch in 2019.
“The strength of our schools and our sports, our coaches, our players and our fans is at an all-time high,” Swofford said. “We’re very well positioned for the future.”
“We at ESPN are proud to be the ACC’s partner,” Skipper said. “We commit to creating and producing content of the highest order for your millions of fans to entertain and entrance them. We will create value for our distributors, an effective platform for our advertisers and financial benefit for ESPN and the ACC.”
Details on the ACC Network Digital and Linear Offerings
The digital channel, called “ACC Network Extra,” will launch in August 2016 and will be immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app. ACC Network Extra will be a live-events platform that will stream 600 live sporting events in 2016-17, expanding to 900 events by 2019.
When the linear network channel launches in 2019, Swofford said that it will broadcast 450 live events per year, including 40 football games, 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, and more than 200 other sporting events across the conference’s 27 sponsored sports. The linear channel will also feature news and information shows and other original programming.
When both components of the network are live in 2019, fans of ACC schools will have access to over 1,300 live events a year.
Basketball Schedule Expanding; Financial Details Lacking
Swofford also announced that when the linear channel launches, the conference will expand its basketball league schedule to 20 games to support the ACC Network’s need for content.
Swofford said that Raycom will continue to serve as the ACC’s broadcast partner in their current capacity until the launch of the linear channel, but he did not specify how the ACC-Raycom relationship would change at that point.
Swofford and Skipper did not reveal any financial information concerning how much money the network is projected to make, how revenue will be shared with member schools, or any projected per-school revenue figures.
TechSideline.com’s Ricky LaBlue contributed to this article.