For the last few years, ACC leadership and athletic directors have been talking with ESPN about starting an ACC Network as ESPN has done with the SEC and FOX has done with the Big 10. While talks have been happening, there really has been no information about whether it would actually happen.
However, the interest from the ACC didn’t waiver and yesterday, ESPN’s Brett McMurphty broke big news in regards to an ACC Network.
McMurphy tweeted out yesterday that the ACC and ESPN have agreed to form an ACC Network that will start by August 2019 with an ESPN3-like ACC Network Plus starting this fall that will be able to be accessed through WatchESPN. In addition, the ACC and ESPN also extended its grant of rights to ESPN through 2036.
For ACC fans, this news has been a long time coming with many wondering if the ACC would ever get their own network. Now, ACC fans have the certainty that an ACC Network will happen with ACC Commissioner John Swofford likely to make a formal announcement at the beginning of the ACC Kickoff media event.
For Virginia Tech and every ACC team, the network will bring more revenue to all ACC schools at a time in which each power 5 conference, especially the SEC and Big 10, are looking to maximize their revenues in whatever way possible as a part of what is a college athletic arms race.
This additional revenue will also help pay for some of the Cassell Coliseum and olympic sport facility renovations planned for down the road while also helping with covering Virginia Tech’s growing scholarship bill.
It is disappointing that this may not happen till 2019 with some sports business believing that will be the case especially given how quickly the SEC Network came together. It will be interesting to see if the ACC Network infrastructure comes together quicker than the network’s launch and if the ACC will take more control of the ACC’s current distribution services.
After years of waiting and wondering, the ACC Network is finally coming to fruition.
7/21 Update: ESPN and the ACC have announced that the ACC Network will start in 2019 with ACC Network Extra starting this fall on digital platforms showing 600 events with that number increasing to 900 by 2019. The ACC Network will also host at least 500 live events in addition to ACC programming similar to what the SEC Network does.