On Thursday, ESPN announced that over a dozen conference channels will be available on WatchESPN. That announcement included the ACC and several other conferences. It did not include the Pac 12, Big 12, SEC, or Big 10. There were those that spun the story into a negative for the ACC. Oh this is ESPN’s ACC Network and that is all it is going to be or if ESPN is a starting a Digital ACC Channel why would they start a cable network to even, this proves the ACC has another thing in common with the non-power 5 conferences.
Of course all this is all completely untrue. Just as the ACC has a youtube channel with their ACC Digital Network , when I first heard of the ESPN Digital ACC Channel I thought, great ESPN has organized their ACC content into one location. That is convenient. It’s really nothing more than that. This doesn’t slow, hurt or replace the development of a standalone ACC Television Network.
Well for example ESPN’s Longhorn Network has a their own digital content. If your cable company carries the Longhorn network you can watch that network online in the same way as WatchESPN. The SEC Network will work basically in the same manner…
Even during the SEC’s Network announcement…
“The network will televise approximately 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include studio shows, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, signing day and pro days coverage. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform.”
As you can see ESPN creating a Digital Content for the SEC and Texas Longhorns is just an extension of the Cable Television Network. If I haven’t convinced you this announcement at worst is harmless and at best may even enhance a cable television network for the ACC maybe Damon Phillip the VP Watch ESPN can shed some light on things.
“We started looking at our portfolio of rights and said, ‘There are conferences who will want a persistent TV channel of their own,’” said Damon Phillips, VP of WatchESPN and ESPN3. And, he added, “having channel adjacency to ESPN in the lineup is something that is very, very valuable.”
Hmm… the ACC is looking into a TV Channel of their own, and this “channel adjacency” is “very very valuable.” Hey those aren’t my words they are ESPN’s.
In addition from that same article…
The additional digital services let ESPN, which is majority owned by Disney, negotiate higher carriage fees from cable and satellite TV providers and also present additional ad inventory.
Let me explain what that statement means… WatchESPN is a service provided by your Cable or Satellite provider. As ESPN enhances their digital content they can charge more for their cable channels, because there is more content to view. Now while I cannot make the leap that an ESPN driven ACC Network will benefit from this because such a network does yet exist, you can infer it in no way would it hinder the development of such a channel. In fact you can argue it may actually help drive the carriage fee up.
For those concerned this is the extent of an ACC Channel, don’t be. It’s doesn’t hinder the possibility in anyway.