Joe Ovies

Dedicated channel is final frontier for ACC

Posted July 22, 2014

The Atlantic Coast Conference wrapped up their annual "Kickoff" media event in Greensboro Monday with a new sense of swagger, eschewing the typical fluffy marketing points meant to prop up the brand. Florida State had their BCS National Championship hardware and reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback providing tangible results. The Seminoles are legitimate candidates to repeat and Clemson represents a viable opportunity for two conference teams to make the new College Football Playoff. 

There was a record amount of credentialed media for ACC Kickoff, including nearly 20 different radio shows. Realignment no longer cast a shadow over the proceedings with the conference fully entrenched in the "Power 5" and ongoing NCAA autonomy discussions. Commissioner John Swofford was at ease during his "State of the ACC" on Sunday, pleased with where the ACC is positioned going into the next chapter of college athletics. Even the local coaches put up with our selfie shenanigans.

But some folks couldn't leave well enough alone. They couldn't be chill and enjoy the laid back atmosphere provided by the Grandover Resort, which is a welcome break for some national media types who make the trip following the insanity of SEC media days. No, they had to compare the two events and conferences. 

In fairness, the image does a good job highlighting how low key the ACC media event is compared to the SEC. However, is having a lobby filled with crazy fans for a non-event specifically designed to help the media create preview content for the upcoming season something every conference strives to duplicate? Not really.

The SEC has skewed the perception of what is acceptable for other conferences to the point where otherwise intelligent members of the media resort to saying illogical things on social media.

For starters, SEC coaches were doing their annual carwash for ESPN. The same carwash will happen for ACC coaches next week. Secondly, did Thamel forget the SEC media event took place in Hoover, Alabama? The location didn't stop anyone from covering it over the span of four days. Thamel's attempt to troll was devoid of any rational thought. Besides, ESPN is doing what any good content machine would do by ramping up their promotion for the new SEC Network.

The SEC, in partnership with ESPN, hopes to create a new revenue stream with that channel. It's the same concept the Big Ten implemented on their own years ago, which has given them a license to print money thanks to cable/satellite subscriber rates. The channel partnership with ESPN is something the ACC hopes to replicate soon in order to keep up with the football Joneses, but right now the ACC is in wait-and-see mode as ESPN works through launching the SEC Network.

If Swofford is Link from "The Legend of Zelda," the ACC channel would be his Master Sword. The commissioner already has his shield, arrows and bombs in the form of third tier rights, Florida State being "back" and Notre Dame's partial membership. But that channel is the final piece of equipment needed to finally defeat the ACC's ongoing perception woes.

Unfortunately for Swofford, the commissioner has two issues to work through before the ACC hits your channel guide. Both are out of his control.

The SEC Network has signed agreements with Comcast, AT&T, Dish Network and Cox. Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are considered forgone conclusions to sign similar deals before the start of the football season. ESPN will no doubt look at this as a roaring success, but are they confident a similar rollout can be achieved with the ACC? The footprint isn't as rabid as the SEC base and providers will have to stomach another dollar-per-subscriber to the overall bill.

"Some of it is wait and see because ESPN's primary focus has been getting the SEC channel off the ground," Swofford explained to 99.9FM The Fan. "It's not dormant in terms of our conversations with ESPN. As we've said from the beginning, it will probably be two to three year process to make a determination for if and when we go that route."

And that gets us to the other issue facing a potential ACC channel. Internet and mobile are disrupting the way we watch television. Throw in the consolidation of distributors and it's impossible to predict how sports fans will consume media in the next five years.

"While we're going through this exercise, that world can change," Swofford conceded. "We need to make our own decision, along with our partner ESPN, for what's best for the longer term future."

Potential government intervention that would allow à la carte options, where viewers could customize their cable/satellite channels, could also negatively impact these conference-specific channels in terms of how much money they'd generate.

The WWE recently launched their own streaming network in February, bypassing cable and satellite, for $9.99 a month. The WWE's stated goal was one million subscribers by the end of 2014. According to reports, the network currently has over 650,000. Go ahead and do the math. It's not bad, but the WWE would be making more off the millions of subscribers who passively pay for it in their cable/satellite bill.

However, the WWE is banking on audiences cutting the cord the same way some have done with Netflix and Hulu. It could very well be the future of how we consume media, but it's not there yet. To the conference's credit, they recognize the shifting television landscape and have made sure every ACC game will be available on some sort of platform. They've also made the Digital Network adaptive to social media trends and is available on devices like AppleTV and Roku. 

All of that is great for fans, but every conference's goal is to make money off their product. So how does the ACC take care of the bottom line? If anyone figures that out, Swofford is ready to take your meeting.

19 Comments

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  • dave437 Jul 22, 3:32 p.m.

    "If Swofford is Link from "The Legend of Zelda," the ACC channel would be his Master Sword."

    Nerd Alert!

  • eyepeefreelee Jul 22, 4:00 p.m.

    We've been pwnd!

  • mattcli Jul 22, 4:10 p.m.

    I hope they make the network available for those of us who cut the cord, but I can't imagine that would actually be the case. I'm guessing you'll need a subscription to a "TV provider" in order to watch it via streaming.

  • Ijaz Fahted Jul 22, 4:16 p.m.

    Does this mean that my regular TV will not be interrupted by late running games and I won't have to DVR the several hours after the game just to catch my shows?

    Probably not.

  • jmcdow2792 Jul 22, 4:26 p.m.

    I suppose an ACC channel would be nice. However, I honestly have not missed any games that I wanted to see with the Direct TV that I already have. I guess I just don't know what I'm missing.

  • uBnice Jul 22, 4:29 p.m.

    Dedicated channel, eh?

    More money generated. But for whom?

  • StunGunn Jul 22, 5:01 p.m.

    I'd like to see an ACC channel, but I don't want to pay an extra fee on top of the astronomical amount I already pay to Time Warner.

  • Hwy_1LeftLaner Jul 22, 6:27 p.m.

    Joe pitching for an ACC channel, yet he'd still prefer to follow the games through social media rather than watching for himself and formulating his own opinions

  • JACKSON SAWYER REVENGE Jul 22, 6:52 p.m.

    he would probably rather be watching reruns of glee

  • cjw6105 Jul 22, 8:26 p.m.

    If it's going to be anything like the ACC TV Network (football), it is, in the words of Dr. Zachary Smith, DOOMED!

More...

 

 

  • ACC: Clemson at NC State

    Wednesday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSBB: Broughton at Leesville Road

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: Duke at Notre Dame

    Wednesday at 7:30 pm on 620am

  • ACC: NC State vs. Clemson

    Wednesday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
Final
TOR 114
DET 110
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
Final
GSW 114
BOS 111
Final
DEN 115
WAS 117
Final
LAL 87
HOU 99
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
ORL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
PHI
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
BOS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
DEN
 
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
Final
MD 68
NW 67
Final
UTAH 77
WASH 56
7:00pm Tonight
AMER
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DET
WRST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCAT
COPST
 
7:30pm Tonight
SCST
HAMP
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
HOW
 
7:30pm Tonight
NWST
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NO
CARK
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAMP
GWEBB
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
MDES
 
8:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
MCNST
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAV
NORST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
SHSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
TAMCC
 
8:05pm Tonight
VALPO
UWMIL
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAAM
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAST
SOUTH
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARKPB
PVU
 
9:00pm Tonight
ISU
TEX
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU
TXSOU
 
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
Final
CARTER 28
IRVIN 32