Pittsburgh AD says ACC Network on the Horizon.


With news of the SEC’s whopping $457 million conference member distribution for the 2014-2015 year, the pressure increases on John Swofford and the ACC to find an additional revenue generator for it’s member schools.

Now without getting into the depth of ESPN’s woes, cord cutting, etc, conference networks are still making money. The SEC and Big 10 networks are producing $5-$8 Million a year, and even the struggling Pac 12 network provides about $1 million per school. The much maligned Longhorn Network is expected to turn a profit in 2016.   

Wednesday some interesting news came from Pittsburgh AD Scott Barnes regarding a possible ACC network during a “town hall” meeting with Pittsburgh fans.

On the possibility of expanding the ACC Network

ACC television is a work in progress, progress is being made. It’s on the horizon. I can’t get into the details of where that sits other than to say I think we all feel like progress is being made. It’s an interesting topic because what you need is a lot of cuts, cutting back with programming and whatnot, but at the end of the day, an organization like ESPN wants more than anything a chance to generate revenue, and the ACC is a great opportunity to generate revenue. We’ll ultimately get there in our TV contract, and I’m confident in that.

Now skeptics will say, oh just more of the same. Vague comments of progress, if it was going to happen it would have already happened. I probably wouldn’t be able to convince a skeptic just based on these comments, but let me ask you this.

Why make those comments if you are the Pittsburgh AD? Barnes responsibility is to Pittsburgh and it’s fans first, not the ACC. If Barnes is unhappy with the ACC ala the Oklahoma’s AD recent Big 12 rants, a public forum gave him that chance, to either criticize the ACC or say nothing. Barnes did neither. He has no reason to say anything positive about an ACC Network if he didn’t feel that something was in works.

I’ll let you judge for yourself if what Barnes says is encouraging. I think it is. Let me just say this.

The prevailing feeling is that ACC Network is an inevitability, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a traditional television channel especially with the advent of internet streaming. That’s ok as long as it generates revenue for the ACC. We could see a hybrid television channel + online for example. We will see.

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  1. Hokie Mark says:

    ACC TV rights were in a bad place with ESPN owning all football rights, then sub-contracting some rights to Raycom which, in turn, sold some to Fox. So the fact that it’s slow progress is not surprising.

    Now the real question remains: how much revenue will it bring?

  2. Jfann says:

    Here is what I think happened… I think things were moving forward in 2013 and 2014 and headed to a 2017 launch. When industry trends went south, I believe the ACC ESPN re-evaluated not a network but what would be the most cost effective implementation of the network.

    That added 6 mo to a year to the original timeline. It happens all the time in business. Investment doesn’t stop but it may get paused. I still suspect something coming in 2018.

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