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May 17, 2016

Recapping ACC Meetings

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Media,Mouse Monopoly — Chas @ 7:21 am

Reminder Pitt on the Prowl alumni events kick off this Thursday in Cleveland (hope to see some people there) and then to Chicago on May 23 and NYC on May 25. Coaches Pat Narduzzi, Kevin Stallings and Suzie McConnell-Serio will be at all the events.

Script unveiling is tomorrow. At least May has been somewhat active.

ACC meetings from last week didn’t reveal anything earth-shattering.

The only concrete thing of real change concerns centralizing instant replay reviews for ACC games.


The thing everyone had waited to hear at the ACC meetings was ACC Commissioner/Ninja John Swofford give any sort of update on an ACC Network.

The ACC’s leadership spent a “significant amount of time” discussing television and all that comes with that topic — rights fees, the possibility of a dedicated ACC channel in partnership with ESPN – during the league’s annual spring meetings.

John Swofford, the ACC commissioner, admitted that much, at least. Beyond the obvious revelation that league officials discussed the conference’s TV situation in great detail, though, there wasn’t much in the way of TV news that came out of the spring meetings, which ended on Thursday.

It wasn’t necessarily a surprise. For years Swofford has received questions about the possibilty of an ACC channel. And for years he hasn’t said much of anything about it. His non-answers have become so predictable that he began his session with reporters on Thursday with a joke about them.

“I know that you have a job to do,” Swofford said moments after he sat down in front of a small group of reporters. “And I respect that and I know you’re tired of hearing me consistently say the same old sound bites in regard to this particular subject.

“So I thought maybe you’d just want to pull up your previous tweets and stories and do a little pasting and save us some time on comments about an ACC channel. I’m kidding. Sort of. No, I don’t really have anything to add to that.”

You can see where this is going. Swofford said nothing, but leaves room for interpretation.

More than once, though, he either spoke directly about or alluded to ESPN’s ingenuity and creativeness. Swofford spoke about how negotiations these days are often less about traditional things — like rights fees — and more about “developing businesses together that are a partnership.”

Again, who knows what that means, exactly. From the sound of it, though, the conversations between the ACC and ESPN go much deeper than, “So, how about that network? Yay or nay?” And a network, in the traditional sense of the word, might be only a piece of what they’re discussing at all.

Swofford made a point on Thursday to praise the ACC as a visionary in college sports. As proof, he pointed to league’s early expansion from nine to 12 teams as evidence that the ACC knew where college sports would be headed, eventually.

You get the sense now that Swofford is attempting to build on the ACC’s visionary status through whatever the next step is with TV — whether it’s a dedicated channel or something else that takes advantage of emerging technology. What that next step looks like, though, is unclear.

Now you can be half-full or half-empty on this regarding an eventual channel of some sort. David Teel is probably the best ACC beat writer out there (covers VT and Virginia — but is really plugged into the ACC conference stuff). I’m going to defer to his judgment.

Yet for all of Swofford’s polite camouflaging, the answer seems clear: The ACC and ESPN eventually will team on a new, more lucrative model for presenting the conference’s events.

Either that, or Swofford is among the planet’s worst poker players and managers of expectations.

“So with technology and so forth, you want to be with people that are progressive and that have flexibility, that are willing to adapt,” Swofford said. “And I think that’s who our partner is. And so we’re bullish about it, and I’d say they’re bullish about it. It might not look exactly the same.”

The “same” being a traditional channel such as the wildly successful, to date, SEC Network and Big Ten Network.

For those who believe the ACC should already have a channel, recall that membership wasn’t stable or wide enough until the latest expansion and subsequent 2013 grant of media rights. Nor were the league’s football programs performing well enough — they certainly are now.

The question is more about the format than anything else. A channel of some sort will happen. And probably within a year or two. The ACC has become a master of keeping things quiet until the deal  is done.

ESPN already has facilities in Charlotte, North Carolina. They set up shop there years ago to handle rebroadcasts of local feeds for the college football and basketball on cable on satellite (and now for ESPN3). Charlotte is actually where ESPN houses their SEC Network. There is already plenty of infrastructure in place for an ACC Network — as a hybrid digital/cable platform or otherwise. All without being obvious about the movements for both parties until they are ready to announce.

Last week, I heard on XM Channel 84 (College Sports) that for every year that the ACC does not have its own network, ESPN shells out $4M to each ACC team.

Note that I cannot make up a thing like this and I certainly don’t know of the contractual relationship between ESPN and the ACC, but it sounds like a good deal to me … especially living in an area that is not likely to pick up the ACC network if it ever comes to fruition.

Comment by wbb 05.17.16 @ 7:47 am

Find out when Raycom’s contract with the ACC ends & you find out when an ACC channel will happen. Raycom has all the 3rd tier rights, which is what would be shown on the ACC network. They’re making some pretty good money off of them, so I doubt they could be bought out cheaply. Every time ROOT in Pgh wants to show a Pitt hoop game vs a lesser team they have to pay Raycom. I wouldn’t give that away without some serious cash.

Comment by Nick 05.17.16 @ 8:26 am

In this area my ignorance is Huuuuge. Assuming ESPN doesn’t want locked out and they can pay roughly was the Conference Networks pay it would seem that doing something within the existing structure is wise, the channel infrastructure already exists and ESPN has its brand and leverage to sell to cable, satellite etc. At least we are not in the Big Least where the basketball only schools drove the bus, and drove the bus off a cliff years ago. If the deal goes with ESPN, don’t they have a HQ in Connecticut? U Conn? Not that I am advocating them but any expansion to add them, the Hoopies, Cincy etc would take time.

What you describe wbb sounds like a rolling option. All these things are speculation at best at this point. Cant wait to see how wrong I am.

Comment by rkb 05.17.16 @ 9:09 am

I reiterate that ND is the key to the ACC network. ACC can negotiate that ND would receive no less then it currently receives from NBC for FB. All ND home FB games on ACC Network.

Then build the network with ND and we win. Maybe add Navy. ND has historically played Pitt, Navy, BC and Miami.

Comment by Frank MD 05.17.16 @ 11:25 am

While ND is the key, they won’t join, but if they did, I still say UConn. Basketball is the ACC’s advantage over the other conferences in terms of TV sets. Many more BBall games, lots of advertising dollars in NY and Connecticut. Helps to solidify the Northeast for the ACC.

Comment by gc 05.17.16 @ 11:56 am

ACC football will always be behind the other Power 5, for a lot of reasons, basketball give the conference the edge overall for TV, where the money is. TV’s are in the Northeast, especially in the winter. Losing Maryland hurt, getting UConn would really help, especially if you want to partner with ESPN.

Comment by gc 05.17.16 @ 12:03 pm

Just passing on an internet rumor. I don’t buy it. If true this would be the throwback jersey because you can see a new white one beside it with stripes on the sleeve and the existing colors.

link to

Comment by notrocketscience 05.17.16 @ 12:29 pm

I buy it.

Looks believable considering the White Jersey next to it is distinctly different. Instead of “retro” a modern STRIPE on the Sleeves.

If it’s not the Real Jersey, then they should consider these.

Pretty BADASS if you ask me.

Thanks Rocket

Comment by PittofDreams 05.17.16 @ 12:43 pm

For those not wanting to be Notre Dame (especially this morning’s news)… looks like you got your wish.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.17.16 @ 12:44 pm

A still shot from the same video.

link to

Comment by PittofDreams 05.17.16 @ 12:48 pm

In the Power 5, Pitt has the 19th all time wins at 704. Clempson and Warshington are on our heels at 703, and Arkansauce at 702, Florida at 701. The next level is in the mid 690’s.

In 18th is Syracuse at 712 and GTech at 714.

Interesting jersey on the leak. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.17.16 @ 1:20 pm

If those indeed are the jerseys, I think I’m OK with them … maybe because I was thinking of something worse

Comment by wbb 05.17.16 @ 1:37 pm

I like the newer jersey to the right. It is actually retro to old Pitt uniforms with the arm stripes and numbers on top of the shoulders.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.17.16 @ 2:31 pm

I’d like to see more of Shae Peppler whoever she is.

Comment by Dan 05.17.16 @ 4:34 pm

Sure that’s not a TD Pitt shirt, Cowboys home jersey to the right??

Comment by Dan 05.17.16 @ 4:35 pm

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