Talks continue on ACC Network carriage in area

ACC Network Football-3

Commissioner John Swofford, center, announces an ACC/ESPN Network during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Saturday, August 10, 2019

With the 2019-20 college sports year set to begin later this month, some that are cable or satellite television subscribers in the area may not have access to the ACC Network when games begin.

The ACC Network is a partnership between the Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN to broadcast some of the league's sporting events.

ESPN is one of may assets owned by the Walt Disney Company.

With the network's scheduled launch on Thursday, Aug. 22, some cable and satellite TV providers in Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties have not announced agreements to carry the ACC Network.

Mediacom provides cable television service in Camden, Chowan, Currituck and Perquimans counties, Spectrum provides cable TV service in Pasquotank and Dare counties, while Dish Network is a satellite TV provider in the region.

Dish Network, Mediacom and Spectrum are not the only major distributors across the country that have not announced agreements to carry the ACC Network.

Comcast and Cox are other major cable TV providers in markets across the country that have not announced agreements to carry the network.

Dish Network also owns the internet streaming television service Sling TV.

Individuals that subscribe to DirecTV are scheduled to have access to the network on Aug. 22.

DirecTV, which operates the streaming service DirecTV Now, is one of the major traditional pay TV providers that has agreed to carry the ACC Network.

Streaming services that have announced that it will carry the network are Hulu, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV.

While Erica Dilk, a spokesperson for Dish Network, declined to comment on the progress of negotiations between Dish Network/Sling TV with Disney/ESPN on the ACC Network, representatives from Mediacom and Spectrum did comment to The Daily Advance on Thursday.

Phyllis Peters, senior director of communications with Mediacom said in a statement: “Mediacom is having discussions with the owners of the ACC Network – Disney/ESPN. We always assess new programming opportunities and changes in the sports television landscape because we want to do what’s best for our customers. As your readers know, sports networks are the most expensive components of subscription television, and arrangements exist to televise a portion of ACC sporting events on other channels. We are evaluating this opportunity and will continue to have discussions with network owners.”

Patrick Paterno, director of public relations in the Carolina region for Spectrum said in a statement: “We are currently in negotiations to carry the ACC Network and are trying to keep programming costs down for our customers. We hope to reach an agreement soon.”

During a conference call about the ACC Network on Thursday, Rosalyn Durant, senior vice president of college networks at ESPN commented on the distribution of the network.

“We are very pleased with the distribution agreements that we have in place currently, and as you’d imagine, we continue to have lots of conversations, and productive conversations, with other distributors for ACC network coverage, in the ACC footprint and beyond the footprint.

We are very fortunate also to already have multiple viable options in place for fans to access the network if their home distributor does not carry it. There are four national distributors in place already with DirecTV, Hulu Live TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV is the latest one, and we anticipate more options in the near future.”

Negotiations between distributors and Disney come at a time where some consumers are leaving traditional pay television services for streaming TV platforms that have fewer channels, but lower cost packages.

Some consumers are also relying on over-the-air digital signals from local broadcast stations for news, sports and entertainment content.

Live college football games are scheduled to begin on the ACC Network on Thursday, Aug. 29 as Clemson hosts Georgia Tech.

Wake Forest's home opener against Utah State on Friday, Aug. 30 along with North Carolina State's season opener against visiting East Carolina on Saturday, Aug. 31 are scheduled to be aired on the network.

North Carolina's home game against Miami (Fla.) on Saturday, Sept. 7 along with Duke's home game against Notre Dame on Saturday, Nov. 9 are scheduled to be televised on the ACC Network.

According to the network, it plans to broadcast 40 regular-season football games.

All 14 member schools in the ACC are expected to have at least one football game aired on the network this fall.

The network is scheduled to air other athletic events sponsored by the ACC.

That includes baseball, basketball, softball, track and field and conference championship contests.