Something not adding up with John Swofford’s recent ACC Network comments.


When I saw a link today from the Courier-Journal with comments John Swofford made on the possibility of an ACC Network, I thought – oh some new information.

Not only were the comments not new information, they could have been from 2013.

What are the prospects of an all-ACC network?

My answer to that really won’t change for a while. We are taking a look at that with ESPN, who would be our partner in it. ESPN will be our partner through 2026-2027 regardless of how it’s structured. We have the ability to do some things because of the quality of partner we have in ESPN. If we feel like that’s the best route to go in the long term, we’ll do that. And it’s a join decision we’ll make with ESPN.

What would make that the best route?

I think the keys are where you put your inventory, what the distribution would be, which ties directly to what the revenue would entail. How does that compare to the potential increase in rights fees we currently have? Our television package right now has great exposure and outstanding dollars. The question for us is, where’s the growth potential? Is it better with an ACC channel that’s 24/7 or with the model we have? It’s a very important decision going forward with our league, and the good thing is, I don’t think there’s a wrong decision to be made. It’s a question of, what’s the better route to go?

Now here are some Swofford comments from August 2013… 

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Swofford, who rarely tips his hand before acting, and the league’s membership have to first decide if an ACC channel is the next logical step for the conference.

“The need is for us to really thoroughly evaluate it to see if that’s the best route for us to take in terms of the future, both from a potential revenue standpoint and from an exposure standpoint,” said Swofford, who emphasized such undertakings take years.

Um something is not adding up here. After nearly 1 1/2 years, Swofford has made virtually the same comment. There is no way, none, zero that the ACC doesn’t have a better idea on the viability of a network. As recently as last month, and we wrote that here, the FSU president made some definitive comments on the likelihood network. 

Here is my opinion on this. John Swofford likes to keep things close to the vest. We know this and have commented on it before here. That’s how he earned the nickname “Ninja Commissioner”. That has worked in his favor many times. This is not one of those times. Positive PR is big these days for conferences, and Swofford missed an opportunity to provide some good feedback on the direction of the ACC.

Instead he provided a vague comments that sound like the ACC is no closer to a network than 1 1/2 years ago. We know that is not the case, so why say it? Are the negotiations at a critical juncture? Is he waiting to announce something in the next few months, and just working to keep things as quiet as possible until then? Who knows with the Ninja…

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  1. Hokie Mark says:

    Two possibilities:

    1) The ACC isn’t sure a network would pay more than $2M per team? (I don’t believe this is true).

    2) The ACC is weighing the possibility of simply having more games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 – an exposure vs. revenue trade-off. Possible, but only in the short-term, IMO.

  2. Jfann says:

    Exposure matters no question. The lack of exposure nearly killed Pac 12 basketball, and it is still hurting it. That said the ACC chose exposure a few years ago over money, and I agree with you, that would only be in the short term.

    There is no doubt in my mind Swofford has something up his sleeve here.

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