After a report broke on Monday night that ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference had reached a deal on a linear ACC Network, ACC commissioner John Swofford kicked off his ACC Kickoff address by formally announcing the deal between the Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN, which is set to last through 2036.
“We look forward to working with our longtime partners at the ACC to create a network that reflects the depth and quality of its athletes and teams, and serves the fans who passionately support them. We are proud and excited to add the ACC Network to our industry-leading college content offerings,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a prepared statement.
The network launch begins this August with the launch of ACC Network Extra, a digital channel available to all ESPN subscribers through WatchESPN. In 2016, ACC Network Extra will broadcast more than 600 live events and that number will increase to upwards of 900 live events at the time of the launch of the linear ACC Network in August of 2019.
The linear ACC Network will replace the current regional coverage of the Atlantic Coast Conference by Raycom Sports in 2019 and will broadcast 450 live events per year at the time of the launch including 40 regular-season football games and more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games.
Perhaps the biggest instant impact from this announcement is that Swofford confirmed that the men’s and women’s basketball programs will move to 20 conference games in 2019 as a result of the expanded coverage. Although there was nothing done to dismiss rumors of a nine-game conference slate for football, it was not addressed in Swofford’s statement.
In all, the ACC Network and ACC Network Extra will broadcast more than 1,300 live events per year beginning in 2019.