The Atlantic Coast Conference announced the launching of a new ACC Network with ESPN on Thursday morning during ACC commissioner John Swofford’s opening news conference.
The network’s “monumental agreement,’’ Swofford said, will be, according to the ESPN/ACC release, “a comprehensive linear and digital network,’’ the news release said. “The 20-year partnership will provide ACC fans unprecedented access to live events via a comprehensive, multi-platform network. It also provides for the extension of the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036.’’
The network will air “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.’’
For basketball fans, the conference will move to 20 men’s ACC basketball games in 2019.
Each of the 14 ACC programs and Notre Dame had representatives on stage during the address. UM women’s basketball coach Katie Meier joined football coach Mark Richt as UM’s reps.
For Meier, the new network will bring much more exposure to her women's team, as most of the major men's games already were televised.
"It’s stunning to me,’’ Meier said of how far women’s basketball has come and how it will be embraced by the network. “I can’t believe I’ve been such a part of such a rise in the sport. I’m humbled by it.”
Meier said she’s “really proud’’ of the ACC. I love the other women’s basketball coaches in this conference… it motivates me. This moment is huge.’’
"For Miami in particular, Meier said the network marks “another huge basic foundation principle that I need for this program to go where I wanted to go. We do want to compete in the Final Four. The national exposure with recruiting is going to be enormous for us.
“…To be able to tell parents, ‘You won’t miss one game. You won’t miss one of your daughter’s game, and not because you have to huddle over a computer back in the corner somewhere. But you can literally turn on a 72 inch TV and see her in HD.'
“That’s awesome for me. And that’s really going to help our program.’’
UM athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald on Wednesday night, when reports had already surfaced about the new ACC/ESPN network, that it would be a long-awaited advantage for all league members. UM already has made over a major commitment to broadcasting, having produced 114 events for ESPN3 this year.
"This isn't as much about exposure for sports like football and men's basketball because they get great exposure,'' James said. "But when you look at the rest of our programs -- women's basketball, baseball, tennis, track, everything else, this is a real win for them.
"We'll need to elevate a little bit in order to be able to broadcast linear, but for the most part we're ready to go on most of what we do. That was part of my idea behind this investment last year when we did this.
"Between the staffing and equipment and everything, it will be over a $2 million investment we've made.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN