Virginia Tech's ACC Network Launch Failure

Virginia Tech's ACC Network Launch Failure

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Aug 22, 2019

Tonight is an exciting night for Virginia Tech and all of the ACC schools with the launch of the long awaited ACC Network. The network is poised to bring in millions of additional dollars with the ACC, its member schools, and fans pushing hard for major TV providers to add the ACC Network including Spectrum, DirecTV, YouTube TV, Hulu TV, and more. However, there are a couple major failures right in the heart of Hokie Nation that not only will cost some cable providers customers but also make Virginia Tech look poorly. The worst problem for Virginia Tech is the ACC Network situation on campus. When the ACC Network leaves the ESPN family of networks at 7:10pm, so will the availability of the ACC Network to on-campus students who don't purchase an additional TV service that includes the ACC Network. Yes, on-campus students at Virginia Tech will not be able to have the ACC Network because Virginia Tech's on-campus cable service comes through Comcast. We've reached out to Virginia Tech, both on the athletic and residential sides, for comment on whether VT will provide a way for on-campus students to view the ACC Network. However, all answers suggested that on-campus students will have to purchase another TV provider to view the ACC Network. Yes, Virginia Tech has sent out tweets telling fans to pressure Comcast to add the ACC Network or threaten to change TV providers. That is useful but for students who have to have and pay for the campus cable service in their residential costs, students have to now pay more to get the ACC Network when they're already spending thousands of dollars for room and board. Additionally, on-campus students also pay an athletic fee yet when those athletic programs play ACC competition on the road (since you have to have a service with ACC Network to get ACC Network Extra), they'll have to pay more to actually see them whether that's via travelling in person (very unlikely) or spending money on a Hulu or YouTube TV. So think about it, on-campus students, who pay thousands of dollars a year in room and board, and an athletic fee in the hundreds of dollars, will have to spend more money to see the Hokies' athletic programs compete when they aren't in Blacksburg or if they don't have a ticket to a football or men's basketball game being televised on said network. The fact that Virginia Tech hasn't put in place a backup program so that on-campus Hokie students can watch their fellow Hokies compete away from Blacksburg on the ACC Network is just as bad especially since there was always a risk that Comcast wouldn't add the ACC Network in time for its launch. However, that's not the only area where Virginia Tech should claim some responsibility. Arguably the largest Hokie Club in the country is located in the Roanoke Valley with the major cable provider being Cox Communications. When the ACC Network launches tonight, Cox will not have ACC Network as a part of their cable offerings. So you would think that, given the amount of support that comes out from the Roanoke Valley, in addition to offer area in Hokie County where Cox is the cable provider, that Virginia Tech would also be leading the charge in pushing Cox to add the ACC Network or tell fans to drop them. Instead, the only tweets that Virginia Tech has sent out recently that has included Cox has been because the TV provider has been sponsoring features. Yes, Virginia Tech is taking sponsor money from Cox despite Cox not yet adding the ACC Network, something that not only is somewhat insulting to ACC fans who may have very limited options in places like the Roanoke Valley, but is also costing Virginia Tech some money from the greater money in the rights fees that come from Cox adding the ACC Network and adding subscribers to the package that includes Cox. Fortunately for most of those in the Roanoke Valley and elsewhere who have Cox, they have options to switch to Internet service only from Cox and add a service like YouTube TV (saving money in the process), or add a TV & Internet provider like Verizon Fios unlike those on campus who will have to spend more money to get the ACC Network. Yes, tonight is a great night for the ACC but not nearly what it could be because of these failures by Virginia Tech to provide the ACC Network for their campus and to even make a push on social media for the Roanoke Valley's main cable provider Cox instead taking sponsor money from them.

Photo Credit: Harley Taylor

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