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ACC, ESPN officially announce new network plans

(Photo: www.syracuse.com)

It’s official. The Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN announced Thursday at the league’s football media days that the ACC Network is ready for takeoff.

The linear (cable) network will launch in 2019 while the digital network will be available this August. “ACC Network Extra will be available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app. An estimated 600 live events will be available. When the linear network launches in 2019, the number of televised events will more than double.

Commissioner John Swofford also announced that the ACC will go to 20 conference games in men’s basketball starting with 2019-2020 season. The extra games will provide more inventory the new network.

In announcing the network, ESPN extended its current television agreement with the ACC for 20 years through 2036. Additionally, the ACC announced that its members have agreed to extend the grant of rights agreement through 2036. That effectively binds the 14 member schools – plus Notre Dame, which is an ACC member in all sports but football – for the next two decades.

“This partnership continues to be a win-win for ESPN and the ACC,” Swofford said. “ESPN is the premier provider in sports content and this agreement will deliver unprecedented coverage to our fans, while highlighting our quality student-athletes, coaches and institutions.”

Of the Power Five conferences, as of 2019 the Big 12 will be the only one without its own network. The news of the ACC-ESPN agreement influenced the Big 12 board of directors to vote Tuesday to re-open the discussion about possibly adding schools.

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