The ACC is pulling out all the stops for its new network.
Have you been by the Dean Dome lately, where the new $15 million windowed wonder in front of the natatorium is almost complete? That is Carolina’s new home for the ACC Network, which launches on August 22. But the question remains: how many people will be able to see what is produced from inside that glass house?
So far, there haven’t been many stones thrown, only questions about whether the ACC will have a TV Network, a streaming network or a combination of both. The latest news is no news, which means the major cable providers like Spectrum and ATT/U-verse in this market have not agreed to carry ESPN’s new ACC Channel.
Roy Williams, Anson Dorrance and several other Tar Heel head coaches have recorded video messages over Twitter, imploring fans to tune in starting this August. And if they go to the GETACCN.com website and find only streaming available, please call their cable companies and keep saying they want to see every Carolina basketball, soccer and all the other sports on TV.
Coach Williams is excited about the launch of the @ACCNetwork this fall! Go to https://t.co/CuAom3aieb to see if your TV provider will carry the network in time to see our home opener vs. Notre Dame. If not, contact them to demand they carry the ACC Network.#GoHeels pic.twitter.com/5cM5oOixzi
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) June 18, 2019
It remains confusing because the coaches’ videos show the logos of those streaming services already contracted to carry the network. Should we sign up for Hulu or the others and then wait for the cable providers to buy in, which will cost us a monthly rate hike?
The ACC remains mum about ongoing negotiations between ESPN and the cable giants, which have to pay a pretty penny if the annual distribution to every school increases significantly. And that is what this whole riddle is about – more money for the ACC members to compete with what the Big Ten and SEC are getting from their subscription-based channels to use for recruiting budgets, coaches’ salaries and more facilities.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford contends that these cable deals are generally made at the 11th-hour, but the longer this goes the chances increase that the ACC Network will not launch with full cable delivery. That means that some of us will have the games on cable TV and some of us will have to pay streaming companies to get them on our phones, laptops and smart TVS.
And what if you or your TV isn’t smart enough to figure it out when Carolina kicks off Mack Brown’s homecoming on September 7 against Miami? A few stones will be aimed at glass houses, for sure.