ABC Sports, ESPN, Inc. and the Atlantic Coast Conference have reached a new agreement, calling for a significant increase in the number of games televised from the recently expanded conference. Highlights will include the new Championship Game, additional Thursday appearances, plus comprehensive coverage through various ESPN entities. The wide-ranging, seven-year pact, which will begin with the 2004 season and continue through 2010, will replace and extend the existing seven-year agreement that began in 1998.
Key highlights include consistent broadcast coverage on ABC Sports, including 2004 and 2005 Labor Day (Monday night) matchups between rivals Florida State and Miami, Rights to the new ACC Football Championship Game (begins in 2005) on ABC Sports, plus the entitlement and marketing rights associated with the game. Extensive action on ESPN and/or ESPN2, including slots on Thursday and Saturday, An increase to six Thursday appearances each year (up from three), resulting in a preeminent position for the ACC on Thursdays, Other non-Saturday telecasts, including an annual Labor Day primetime game (on ABC Sports or ESPN) and games during Thanksgiving weekend, Coverage across other outlets, including ESPN Pay-Per-View, ESPN.com, ESPN Classic, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and more.
Loren Matthews, ABC Sports' senior vice president, programming, said, "We are extremely happy to extend our relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference. The addition of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College elevates the ACC to the very top echelon of collegiate football power conferences. What a great way to kick off an outstanding new era of ACC football -- national powers Miami and Florida State opening their next two seasons head-to-head with a full national telecast in primetime on Labor Day night on ABC."
Mark Shapiro, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production, added, "The new and improved ACC will offer a consistent and deep schedule of meaningful matchups featuring elite programs. In turn, we've dramatically increased our overall commitment, strengthened our successful Thursday night franchise and added a conference championship game. Fans can expect blanket coverage of the conference through the substantial collection of ESPN platforms."
John Swofford, ACC commissioner, said, "We are extremely pleased to extend our relationship with ABC and ESPN. They are the leaders in college football broadcasting and have been outstanding partners. This is an agreement that is fair to both parties and from a financial and exposure point of view, gives our schools a great deal of stability and continuity for the future. It is very much in line with our expectations related to conference expansion, so we're obviously very pleased."
Following its 5-1 bowl mark in 2003, the ACC is the nation's all-time winningest conference in bowl play. A nine-member conference since 1991 with Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Wake Forest, the ACC will expand to 11 schools in 2004 with the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech. Boston College will become the league's 12th member in 2005.
ESPN Pay-Per-View: The agreement includes pay-per-view rights for ACC telecasts on ESPN GamePlan (season-long, pay-per-view offering), as well as archived ACC games through ESPN's Video on Demand service.
ESPN.com: The leading sports site will provide expanded online action. The agreement also grants rights for potential webcasts through ESPN.com or ESPN Broadband (cable modem service).
ESPN Classic: ESPN Classic will present memorable ACC matchups, including "Instant Classics." ESPN HD: High-definition productions of ACC football action will be part of ESPN HD (high-definition simulcast of ESPN programming), including select Thursday and Saturday telecasts.
ESPN Deportes:The recently launched 24-hour, Spanish-language sports network will include ACC programming.
ESPN International: ESPN has the right to distribute ACC football action internationally.
Other Technologies: The ACC will provide material for various mobile platforms (ESPN Wireless) in the future, in addition to content through ESPN Broadband.