It's official - the ACC Network is coming.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced the creation of the network and the partnership with ESPN during his kickoff chat with the media on Thursday morning at the ACC Football Media Days at the Downtown Westin. The Network will be launched in 2019.
Swofford was joined on stage by ESPN President John Skipper to make the announcement. The ACC had a group of 35 coaches from all sports on the stage setting behind Swofford for the announcement. Louisville was represented by volleyball coach Anne Kordes and baseball coach Dan McDonnell. U of L athletic director Tom Jurich was in Charlotte on Wednesday.
The deal, which runs through 2035-36, also includes a property called ACC Network Extra, which will begin this fall. The ACC Network Extra will deliver fans more live games and content via the Watch ESPN app.
"Some of you may be disappointed that I'm not going to be able to do the dance that I've done the last couple of years, dancing around some questions about television," Swofford said. "Yes, after years of discussions and rumors, I'm pleased in the company of our presidents, athletic directors, and a cross-section of the finest coaches in the country to announce a new media agreement with ESPN."
The ACC Network will broadcast about 450 events, including 40 football games, 150 men's and women's basketball games and 250 Olympic-style sports. ACC Network Extra will show about 600 live games in its first year and expand to more than 900 games by 2019.
"Delivering this content to our fans, alums and student-athletes, as well as their families and friends, was a driving force in our discussion," Swofford said. "We know that cumulatively ACC football and men's basketball regularly generates more viewers on an annual basis for ESPN than any other conference."
The deal also includes a grant-of-rights provision allowing the ACC to retain control of media rights for any school that leaves the conference through the length of the TV deal.
"We at ESPN are proud to be the ACC's partner," Skipper said. "We commit to creating and producing content of the highest order for your millions of fans to entertain and entrance them. We will create value for our distributors, an effective platform for our advertisers, financial benefit for ESPN and the ACC."