Atlantic Coast Conference explores idea of own TV network
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — The Big Ten Network reaches 100 million households and 300 cable providers in the U.S. and Canada.
The Southeastern Conference recently finalized a 20-year agreement with ESPN that includes the August 2014 launch of its own network that will televise more than 1,000 events in the first year.
Armed with what he calls new-found “stability and solidarity,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said Monday he believes his conference may be able to make similar advances in televising its products.
“We don't want to let any grass grow, and I don't think ESPN does either,” said Swofford, who updated conference athletic directors Monday on the viability of the proposed ACC Network.
A major part of the business being conducted this week at the ACC spring meetings involves discussions aimed at building that network. Swofford said the conference — now that it is growing westward from the Atlantic Ocean and northward with the additions of Pitt and Syracuse — is well-positioned to undertake many ventures.
“Everything is very healthy from an exposure standpoint,” he said. “I don't know if anybody has any greater exposure. With the grant of (media) rights agreement, that enhances a lot of things for us going forward.”
The grant of rights makes it nearly impossible for a school to leave the conference for fear of forfeiting huge TV revenues. But adding schools such as Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame this year and Louisville next year puts more eyes on the conference and gets more TVs tuned to its games.
Swofford said the 15 schools will give the ACC footprint a population of about 107 million, the largest of any conference.
“By 2030,” he said, “over 50 percent of the population of the U.S. will be in the ACC footprint.”
Swofford put the timetable for an ACC network on a similar planning clock as the SEC, which started talking about its network about two years ago and is a year from fruition. “Something of that nature is probably realistic for us in terms of that decision being made,” he said.
“We will look at it very strategically, and — as business partners — see if we can find the right niche for a potential channel to be a viable business venture for us and ESPN,” he said.
“We will go ahead and jump into the analysis of it in an aggressive fashion. How long that takes us remains to be seen.”
He said the most important issues to be resolved are “content and distribution.” But those talks remain in the preliminary stages.
“We had begun some conversations before the grant of rights,” he said, “but with the grant of rights, that conversation becomes more serious and accelerated.”
Notes: Swofford said he plans to attend Pitt's ACC opener against Florida State on Sept. 2 at Heinz Field. ... Florida State athletic director Randy Spetmen said his fans are making plans to attend the game “in droves. Expect to see a lot of garnet and gold.” The schools haven't met in football since 1983.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- House has Pitt defense trending in right direction
- 3 Pitt football recruits plan to enroll early
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- Pitt notebook: Chryst didn’t lobby to keep Watt at tight end
- Notre Dame leads powerhouses in ACC; Pitt women picked 14th
- Discipline Pitt’s only option against Georgia Tech
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- Pitt’s defense has not rested in post-Donald era