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Volume 26 No. 90
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Swofford Confident ACC Network Will Work Out Distribution Deals

Swofford said his conference could not be in any better shape in the lead up to the ACC Network's launch
Photo: ESPN IMAGES
Swofford said his conference could not be in any better shape in the lead up to the ACC Network's launch
Photo: ESPN IMAGES
Swofford said his conference could not be in any better shape in the lead up to the ACC Network's launch
Photo: ESPN IMAGES

The ACC Network "remains the top focus of those around the league" just over three months from its Aug. 22 launch date, as "distribution deals are worked out, programming decisions are made and talent is hired," according to Brant Wilkerson-New of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, "We don’t think we could be in any better shape for that than we are right now." Among the "big-name national carriers that have yet to reach a deal" for the ACC Network are Comcast, Charter, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse. It is "likely several of those deals could be announced near the launch date." One thing the conference "learned from watching other conferences launch their networks was ensuring they had proper leverage in the marketplace, and Swofford feels that the ACC Network has that in partnering with ESPN" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 5/7). Swofford said all of the carriers "will come into play as we work towards the launch." He said, "You’ll be able to get the network one way or another just about anywhere" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/7).

MONEY MATTERS: The AP's Aaron Beard noted the ACC "hopes the channel’s launch helps it close a financial gap" with its Power Five peers, which has "only grown in recent years." The average payout for the ACC’s 14 full-time members for the '16-17 season was $26.6M, with football "driving the revenues." By comparison, the SEC distributed nearly $41M per school. Swofford has "declined to talk about specific financial projections for the ACC Network, and has said it could take years to provide full benefits" (AP, 5/6). Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said he has "no idea" yet about the level of revenue that the ACC Network will provide, but it "will be more" than his school receives now. He said, "We’ll gain some ground on our national peers. We won’t gain ground within the ACC. But we love it from a visibility and recruiting standpoint and a financial add-on, so that will be a nice influx of revenue, whatever it may be, that the SEC already enjoys." Babcock said VT has hired 10-14 new people to "help us with the network" and any productions coming from a new broadcast studio (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/3).

MORE EXPOSURE: In Virginia, Michael Shroyer notes the impending launch of the ACC Network has the conference "mapping out a content plan for next year that includes a push for more member schools" to air their spring football games. VT was one of six ACC teams not to televise their spring game in '19, and it has "been that way" since coach Justin Fuente took over the program in '16. VT's spring game was "broadcast on ESPN3 for the last few years of Frank Beamer’s tenure." The ACC has "let its members decide whether or not to televise their spring games in the past." Swofford said that that "won’t change ... but the conference wants to get more of those games on the air" (ROANOKE TIMES, 5/7).