Based on what’s out there, it would be surprising if he did so Thursday.
The commissioner might be loath to steal headlines from the league’s coaches and players, but when he speaks to several hundred credentialed media at The Westin Charlotte hotel to kick off the ACC season, he might confirm reports that the ESPN-ACC partnership has borne a sizable piece of fruit.
Sports Business Daily reported that the digital network, called ACC Network Plus, will carry Olympic-style events and count on schools to produce some of the programming. Miami is already a conference leader in that area. UM self-produces coverage of every one of its 16 men’s and women’s sports but swimming, rowing and golf. It then sends feeds to ESPN for show on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN mobile app.
“It’s an area we made a significant investment in,” UM Athletics Director Blake James said in February. “It’s been a great return for us.”
According to SBD, the TV channel, called ACC Network, will be modeled after ESPN’s SEC Network, which means it is a mix of live games, analysis, talk shows and feature programming. SBD reported ACC Network will carry at least 400 events, including 40 football and 150 men’s and women’s basketball games each year. More well considered thoughts here from North Carolina radio host (and Miami native) Joe Ovies.
Another massive measure of security for the league: according to ESPN, the ACC extended its grant of rights deal nine years, through 2035-36.
A grant of rights deal essentially keeps schools from leaving a conference; under such an agreement, the league owns media rights and some revenues from home games for the length of the deal. ESPN noted that the ACC extending the deal also locks in Notre Dame as a non-football member; if the Irish want to join a conference for football in the next 20 years, they are under contract to the ACC.