ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference announced plans to launch a linear network in 2019 as well as an all-digital offering – ACC Network Extra – next month.
The ACC and ESPN officially launched the venture at the conference’s annual Football Kick-Off media event in Charlotte, N.C. News that the network was in the works has been out for days.
According to both ESPN and the ACC, the partnership is part of an extension to the conference’s existing sports rights agreement with ESPN to 2036. ESPN is the ACC’s exclusive worldwide rights holder.
Beginning in August, fans can access more than 600 exclusive live events from across the conference via digital live-events channel ACC Network Extra, immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app. More than 1,300 ACC events will be distributed across the platforms in 2019 when the linear network launches.
“We look forward to working with our longtime partners at the ACC to create a network that reflects the depth and quality of its athletes and teams, and serves the fans who passionately support them. We are proud and excited to add the ACC Network to our industry-leading college content offerings,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement.
The linear network will feature 450 exclusive live events including 40 regular-season football games, more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, more than 200 other regular-season contests and tournament games from across the conference’s 27-sponsored sports, plus a complement of news and information shows and original programming. ESPN has been televising ACC content since 1979 and has exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and conference sports matchups, as well as all ACC championship events.
“On behalf of the ACC Council of Presidents, Faculty Athletics Representatives and our ACC Television Committee, we are tremendously pleased to further enhance our long-term partnership with ESPN that includes the creation of the ACC Network and ACC Network Extra, and positions the conference for the long-term future,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “This partnership continues to be a win-win for ESPN and the ACC. ESPN is the premier provider in sports content and this agreement will deliver unprecedented coverage to our fans, while highlighting our quality student-athletes, coaches and institutions.”
Additional details about the network will be announced in the coming months.