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ACC Digital Network Moving Forward

Coming soon to screens near you

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Operation Basketball
Oct 26, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; ACC commissioner John Swofford speaks to the media during ACC Operation Basketball at The Ritz-Carlton. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC Digital Network is moving ahead: ESPN has signed carriage agreements with some digital services. The services aren't specified nor is the subscriber rate other than too say it won’t be as much as the Big Ten and SEC are getting for their traditional networks (The ACC’s will be both traditional and digital)

However as we have said before, like Netflix, a digital service can scale up internationally too. If we were the ACC, we’d find some smart conference students to do a digital SAP in Mandarin and do one free game a week for the Chinese market.

Why not? The PAC-12 has tried to make inroads into Asian markets. There’s no reason the ACC can’t as well.

Stateside though the network has challenges, notably a declining market for cable/satellite TV and younger fans who may find other forms of entertainment more compelling. Only a fool would discount the rising competition coming from E-Sports.

However, the ACC has a dream spot geographically and demographically and something equally important, according to ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and scheduling Burke Magnus: “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,” Magnus told “It’s pretty formidable.”

Fair point. The SEC is still the gold standard for football (and football passion) but the ACC is doing okay. Either way, it’s a better product than most of what the Big Ten offers. The way Clemson, Florida State, Duke, UNC and Virginia Tech play is fast, exciting and fun.

And as far as basketball goes it’s a league beyond. The SEC has never come close and the Big Ten still comes across like a league full of slowish bruisers.

And don’t look past technological changes which are coming fast. Apple and Google are both pushing into Augmented Reality which we expect will arrive on phones this fall.

This video is a pretty basic demo but it’s still very interesting and you don’t have to think too hard to imagine how this sort of technology would transfer to sports.

The technology we see in phones today is on its way to glasses and contact lenses and then you can imagine all sorts of applications once you can take it straight to the eye.

Imagine for instance an ESPN App Store where you could pay .99 cents for an app that measures the distance of a pass or the speed of a receiver or one that simply incorporated live analytics.

If ESPN is looking for a new revenue source down the road, AR apps are a good bet.

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