CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Thursday, Commissioner John Swofford announced the Atlantic Coast Conference has partnered with ESPN to launch The ACC Network. The collaboration created a lot of excitement, especially with Clemson president Jim Clements.
“I think this is a historic day because this is a long term agreement, a long term partnership that gives us an even greater exposure nationally,” said Clements to the Clemson Insider on Thursday. “You’ve got a great collection of academic institutions that are great athletically, so I think it is great for the university and is great for the student athletes. I am excited.
“As leaders among higher education, the ACC strives to represent all that is good among college athletics. Year in and year out, the ACC is the strongest academic conference. The ACC Network will provide tremendous benefits for our schools and student-athletes.”
Clements serves as the head chairman of the Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents, and when they were prompted to vote on the partnership, the vote was unanimous.
“Unanimous vote of support by the council of presidents, so we were all really excited about it. This something we worked hard for and I think the future looks great,” Clements said.
The process of proposing, approving and establishing the groundwork for an ACC Network took a lot of time before a media agreement was formed, but Clements knows that the impact will be worth the wait.
“These are steady negotiations over time, but we got to the point where everyone is really happy. I am really excited, I think it’s going to be really special,” he said.
With ESPN being the “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” Clements believes that the collaboration will provide the ACC with much more than the benefit of gaining national exposure.
“ESPN is a world class partner, so to partner with them is special. It stabilizes the conference, gives us increased revenue, increased national exposure. Everything about it is good,” Clements said.
The deal extends through the 2035-2036 academic year, which provides a sense of insurance in the ever-changing media industry.
“It seems to be always be changing. This does give security and stability,” Clements said. “It’s a big deal, so that means we are all in.”
The ACC Network now joins extensions of ESPN like the previously established SEC Network and the Longhorn Network. The success of the teams in the SEC led up to the network’s formation in 2014, and Clements believes that the ACC’s recent athletic and academic success has warranted the respect of establishing a network dedicated to showing off the conference.
“I think we have gained incredible respect on the field and in the classroom. I think on so many measures, we do so very, very well,” Clements said.