The ACC Network has reportedly signed its first licensing agreement with streaming services to begin streaming the ESPN-owned sports channel when it launches in August 2019. The planned ACC Network will cover college football and basketball events from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The exact details haven’t been released yet, and it’s unknown how much ESPN has charged for the rights to stream the network. However, similar digital distribution deals for the SEC Network have charged as much as $0.72 per subscriber per month, and it’s believed ESPN’s price will be lower in order to make their new network attractive to streaming providers.
Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming and scheduling for ESPN, says the deal is only the beginning for the new college sports network:
We’ve yet to really get into the meat of distribution conversations because it is a couple years away. We feel every bit as optimistic as we did when we announced it. The advantage the ACC has over most, if not all, conferences is they couple high-quality football with the highest quality men’s and women’s basketball. It’s pretty formidable.
ESPN channels and programming are already available on PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu. While it’s safe to say that at least some of these will also carry the ACC Network, ESPN’s parent company Disney owns 30% of Hulu. Couple that with Hulu’s recent launch of its new live TV service, and it’s safe to predict Hulu might be the home of the ACC Network when it launches. Of course, that’s all speculation for now. The ACC Network deal also includes several other Disney-owned channels, although it’s also unclear what these channels might be.
The ACC includes Boston College, Clemson University, Duke University, Georgia Tech, Florida State University, North Carolina State University, Syracuse University, the University of Louisville, the University of Miami, the University of North Carolina, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest University. All of the universities are currently expanding their media facilities in order to accommodate the new network launching in 2019. As of now, the ACC Network only streams basketball and football games, but with the launch of a full-time network, coverage might be expanded.