It’s taken six years but the ACC is finally on the verge of landing a television deal. The conference is in talks with ESPN to launch its own ACC Network and other innovative “over-the-top” components including content delivered directly to viewers via the Internet, known as OTT.
An official announcement could be made as soon as the ACC’s football kickoff event on Thursday and Friday according to the News and Observer. ACC commissioner John Swofford will meet with the media prior to the event on Thursday morning.
The ACC presently has a deal with ESPN which runs through 2026-27. The problem is that other conferences such as the Big Ten and SEC have their own networks which have opened up additional opportunities, making it harder for the ACC to compete. By launching a network of their own the ACC expects to close the financial gap and become stronger.
“That’s why ESPN is in the discussions with us,” Swofford said. “They like to make money, too. And we like to make money, as well.”
Making changes to the ACC’s television deal seem odd to many given the shift in both cable television and college athletics. ESPN has lost nearly 7 million subscribers in less than three years, yet rights fees continue to soar. Broadcasters believe sports play by play will weather the storm due to its live approach, making it DVR proof, and attractive and important to advertisers and consumers.