In a move that UM Director of Athletics Blake James says will “enhance the stature and visibility” of Miami athletics, ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference will launch the much-anticipated ACC Network, a multi-platform network that will give fans access to hundreds of exclusive live conference events via a digital channel available next month and more than 1,300 events in 2019 when the linear network launches.
With UM women’s head basketball coach Katie Meier and head football coach Mark Richt joining representatives from Notre Dame and the 13 other ACC programs on stage, ACC Commissioner John Swofford and ESPN President John Skipper announced the launch of the new network at the conference’s annual ACC Kickoff media event in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Thursday.
The 20-year partnership will provide ACC fans unprecedented access to live events via a comprehensive, multi-platform network. It also provides for the extension of the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036. ESPN is the ACC’s exclusive worldwide rights holder.
Beginning in August 2016, fans can access more than 600 exclusive live events from across the conference via the digital live-events channel ‘ACC Network Extra’, immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with that number growing each year. More than 1,300 ACC events will be distributed across the platforms three years from now when the linear network launches.
Linear Network Programming
The linear network will feature 450 exclusive live events including 40 regular-season football games, more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, more than 200 other regular-season contests and tournament games from across the conference’s 27-sponsored sports, plus a complement of news and informational shows and original programming. ESPN has been televising ACC content since 1979 and has exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and conference sports matchups, as well as all ACC championship events.
“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,” said John Skipper, ESPN President.
“On behalf of the ACC Council of Presidents, Faculty Athletics Representatives, and our ACC Television Committee, we are tremendously pleased to further enhance our long-term partnership with ESPN that includes the creation of the ACC Network and ACC Network Extra, and positions the conference for the long-term future,” said Swofford. “This partnership continues to be a win-win for ESPN and the ACC. ESPN is the premier provider in sports content and this agreement will deliver unprecedented coverage to our fans while highlighting our quality student-athletes, coaches, and institutions.”
Additional details about the network will be announced in the coming months.
Here’s how UM coaches are reacting to the news:
“This is a tremendous day for our league and our institution. I would like to congratulate Commissioner John Swofford and his staff for finalizing this historic deal. The exposure of the ACC Network will significantly enhance our league’s visibility nationwide.”
— Mark Richt, Hurricanes Head Football Coach
“We are very excited about the league’s continued partnership with ESPN and the exposure the league will receive through the new ACC Network. The launch of the ACC Network is very beneficial for the University of Miami and the continued growth of our basketball program. Our fans will also love the extensive national television coverage the ACC Network will provide for the Hurricanes. The ACC is the best basketball conference in the country and we keep getting better and better.”
— Jim Larrañaga, Men’s Head Basketball Head Coach
“The ACC is the most competitive conference in college baseball, and the opportunity to showcase that product nationwide on the ACC Network will provide a tremendous lift to all of our programs.”
— Jim Morris, Miami Hurricanes Head Baseball Coach
“This is an exciting day for the entire ACC and especially so for women’s basketball. We have consistently been the nation’s best conference and it is time for us to take advantage of this amazing platform. Our league is so tough and it spans so many interesting cities, regions, and university communities. I’m thrilled that people all over America will be able to watch my team and all the teams from The U. This will help us both with recruiting and expanding our footprint.”
— Katie Meier, Women’s Head Basketball Coach
“The ACC Network will be a great addition to an already elite conference. It is exciting to know that our program, as well as the rest of the programs at Miami, will have the opportunity to receive the coverage that the ACC Network will provide.”
— Jose “Keno” Gandara, Miami Hurricanes Volleyball Head Coach
“This is a great opportunity to showcase our sport in the most competitive conference in the country. Every game is played at a high level and now fans across the nation will have the chance to see that on a regular basis.”
— Mary-Frances Monroe, Miami Hurricanes Soccer Head Coach
“Today’s announcement of the ACC Network is groundbreaking for the University of Miami, the ACC, and for our fans, and is indicative of the overall strength of our conference. The network will enhance the stature and visibility of Miami and the ACC, and with the expanded digital platform on ESPN, I am excited about the addition of new Hurricane fans from around the country.”
— Blake James, Miami Athletics Director