John Swofford does not want Atlantic Coast Conference fans burning down any houses should their providers not carry the new ACC Network when it launches a month from today, but he knows they’ll be passionate and vocal about it if they don’t.
“The intense passion is there. That’s evident. We see that,” the ACC Commissioner said. “I think as you get toward launch, the way distribution works, a lot of those deals happen at the midnight hour, so to speak.
“I think our fan bases will respond very, very negatively if they’re not able to get this. I think they will show that. I would encourage them to show that, short of burning down any houses. We wouldn’t want them to do that.”
There is still some concern among Clemson fans about getting the ACCN and getting it before the season opener on Aug. 29. The Tigers will host Georgia Tech that night, which will be the first live football game aired on the new network.
ESPN is working hard to ensure the ACCN will be broadly available via video providers across the country. Carriage agreements are already in place with video providers such as DIRECTV, Google Fiber, Hulu Live TV, Layer3 TV, Optimum, PlayStation Vue, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios, as well as, members of the NRTC and Vivicast Media and more.
“Fan bases, their voices need to be heard,” Swofford said. “We count on them to demand of their carrier to take the ACC Network. I think this is must-see television quite frankly. It’s not just watching a game, it’s watching the Atlantic Coast Conference in every sport, in every way, from the inside-out and from the outside-in.
“If you’re a sports fan and you live in the footprint of the ACC or you’re an alum that is in another part of the country, there’s going to be nothing like we have ever had in the ACC. I’m very confident in the passion and the willingness and ability to express that passion at the right time with our fan bases.”
Still there are a large body of ACC fans, Clemson fans included, that are in jeopardy of not getting the ACC Network when the season kickoffs in five weeks, which means they will not only miss the season-opener with Georgia Tech, but possibly other games as the ACC has already scheduled a lot of games to air on the ACCN.
Right now, major cable and satellite providers like Cox, Comcast, Spectrum and DISH Network have yet to reach an agreement with Disney, who owns ESPN and its network of channels.
“Well, the games need to be scheduled because people need to understand and see the quality that’s going to be on the network. That’s certainly by design,” Swofford said. “The questions about distribution really should be answered by ESPN. What I will tell you is that we’re very confident that ESPN is the best in the world when it comes to distribution.
“It’s all part of the Disney family. When you combine ESPN sports with what Disney does that is non-sports, that’s strong. I think we all understand that. That’s one of the reasons that we feel so confident as this builds out with who we’re partnered with.”
AT&T U-verse is another cable provider who has not reached a deal to have the ACCN as part of its sports package.
“You’ll be able to get the ACC Network anywhere in the nation one way or another, whether it’s DIRECTV, whether it’s Hulu that are already onboard,” Swofford said. “People will have an opportunity to change carriers if they’re not happy with their current one who is not carrying the ACC Network.
“That’s what I would say first. Secondly, what I’ve said over and over again, contact your carrier if they’re not carrying it and demand that you want it. It’s a consumer sort of thing. Be passionate when you do it.”
For the latest updates and list of carriers, please visit GetACCN.com. You can also contact your pay TV provider and request that they carry ACCN as part of its channel lineup.