ESPN confident in future of ACC Network
Posted June 7
Even with cord cutting, revenue dips and the recent layoff of 100 ESPN employees, the ACC is confident that their 2019 linear launch will take place with ESPN.
"The layoffs from ESPN, I've been assured, have absolutely nothing to do with their view of moving forward with the ACC/ESPN Channel," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said.
"We've partnered with ESPN, which is the best address in sport and it remains to be seen what the subscription rates are and how the whole thing rolls out," UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said.
The cable giant is not a sinking ship. Industry sources tell WRAL that ESPN's revenue last year was $12.5 billion dollars. They paid $6.7 billion in rights fees, which leaves just under $6 billion to operate. ESPN officials were at the ACC meetings earlier in May. They nor ACC officials are in a place to know exactly how profitable the new network will be.
"The ACC wisely took the approach to make the projections very conservatively and those projections are holding true at this point," Wake Forest Athletic Director Ron Wellman said.
"We're kind of in a 50-50 partnership with ESPN," Duke Athletic Director Kevin White said. "They are as motivated as we are to make this network successful, not just successful, but highly successful."
"We expect it to be very profitable, which is why we are taking this step and it's also why ESPN is taking this step," Swofford said.
The ACC is currently fifth among the Power Five conferences in revenue shared with each school. However profitable the ACC Network is, it will help close the gap between the ACC and the rest of the Power 5.
"It's going to be a great moment to move forward not only for each member institution but for the brand of the conference collectively," White said.