It was business as usual for the Atlantic Coast Conference this past week at its annual spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida. Well, sort of.
The ACC covered a lot of ground this week at the Ritz-Carlton, as the league’s coaches in football, men’s and women’s basketball and administrators went over topics such as sports wagering, the transfer portal, injury reports, future sites for its championships and much more.
However, the main theme of the week was the launch of the ACC Network, which will debut on Aug. 22.
“It was in a sense business as usual, but then again it wasn’t because we are within one hundred days of the launch of the network,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said Thursday to The Clemson Insider as well as a handful of media members who covered the meetings this past week. “There is a sense of excitement without question. There is a sense we are headed down the stretch run on something that can be extraordinarily beneficial to this league and I am sure it will be. That is exciting.
“I don’t think it will be business as usual for us over the summer behind the scenes because of us working with the best partner anybody can have in the sports television world with ESPN as we look towards August 22 and the launch and August 29 with the first football game with Georgia Tech at Clemson.”
Swofford said from his perspective things are right where they should be and where they expect them to be at this given point in time. There is still a lot more to do over the next three months and reaching that 100-day mark and couple it with bringing everyone together in their normal meeting space, there is a realization and an uptick in terms of the energy surrounding the launch.
“Football and the fall sports will be kicking off before we know it and a lot will happen between now and then that, with our partner, we are going to need to be involved with,” Swofford said.
ESPN VP of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus says the ACC Network will have a look that will be different and unique to the ACC.
“It will be different than anything else we have done in that regard,” he said. “We are going to play heavily upon brands and the IDs of the individual institutions along with the conference itself.
“The content from a live event perspective, I think will feel familiar. There is only so many football games you can do on a Saturday so it will total out to about forty or fifty football games like we have done with the SEC and like we have done with ESPNU or like we do really on any of our networks, a full triple header.”
The new league will generally show about three football games every Saturday with special dates here and there around the holidays. Basketball will be the same thing as the league slips into those same dynamics because there are so many different games.
There is also the Olympics sports where games will be shown in the season, but this is where Magnus thinks there will be a little bit of change potentially because these sports are generally not used to being televised or being scheduled for television.
“They are free to schedule games without that consideration. We will look for some change in that regard in order to create new windows for exposure for some of the other sports with an eye towards real life issues that these schools have in terms of class time, travel consideration, etc.,” he said. “But there will be a little bit of that and then what will be really different and unique for the ACC is all the surround programming that we will put around the live events.
“We started to do a little bit of that with Packer’s Show and we will launch with some film projects and have unique access programming throughout the season that will surround all the games that will be distinct and unique to the ACC.”