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ACC Network: Where They’d Like To Take It

This is very encouraging

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NCAA Football: ACC Media Days
Jul 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; ACC Commissioner John Swofford addresses the media during the 2019 ACC Kickoff at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC. 
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

As you know, the ACC Network is coming soon but it’s not the first kid on the block - most major conferences either have one or would like to - or in the case of the PAC-12, would like it to actually work (more on that later).

So one way the ACC hopes to distinguish itself is via innovation.

ESPN’s Amy Rosenfeld is the head of programming for the network and she would like to be aggressively innovative: “Got a new twist on the pylon cam or the helmet cam, we’ll test it. The schools have been very forward-thinking about wanting to be the leaders in that way and pushing access.

“We want to take some creative chances.

…“We want to be the beta test for a lot of technical initiatives. Immersive reality, augmented reality, new camera angles — why not? We’re going to be in the weeds as a test pilot.”

Note to Rosenfeld: last place a pilot wants to be is in the weeds. Just sayin!

One of the things that they will be doing will be putting cameras in the soccer goalposts, which does sound pretty cool. If you’re open to stuff like that, why not put cameras on the ends of the footballs? Watching the pass come down would be amazing, especially in slow motion.

And if you have body cams for cops, why not put them on officials? That could be pretty cool too. You’d certainly get a different perspective on things.

Along the same lines, this would be something that fans from everywhere would want to see: an official’s show.

Think about it. A Sunday show with retired officials explaining the big calls of Saturday would be hugely popular (we’re thinking football at the moment but it could apply to any sport). People would tune in to see every single questionable call and to have it explained. In the event of a major controversy, it would be appointment TV. It could be simultaneously educational and cathartic and no one else has anything close to it. Can you imagine, say, Clemson fans tuning in if a bad call cost them a game?

Don’t discount the educational part. Explaining not just the rules but the roles that the various officials play could also be thoroughly discussed and that would really be to everyone’s benefit.

You could even have great controversies of the past, like the Duke-UNC fight of 1960, the Wake-Forest UNC scoreboard controversy (we forget the year but Dean Smith claimed Wake’s inbounds pass clipped the scoreboard) or the Duke-Miami game football game from a couple of years ago when Miami lateraled the last play about eight times to win - but only because the officials missed a couple of things.

People never forget those things and would be happy to revisit them if only to argue once more that “we got robbed.”

We love that Rosenfeld wants to help the ACC be the beta test for stuff. One thing we’d really hope the ACC would do with the network is to bring the fans in as much as possible. The SEC does a great job of this with Paul Finebaum’s show. Borrow the concept and in the old Microsoft phrase: embrace and extend. Make the fans feel a real part of things and it’ll go much, much better. Continue with the traditional ACC remove - and by this we mean the administrative side of the ACC - and you’ll sell tickets and subscriptions but you won't increase the passion.

One great model for the conference should be Duke’s stellar use of social media. It’s innovative, refreshing and, with the players doing interviews and narrating pieces, fun and cool.

If it’s us we’re using all of it to generate as much fan passion as possible and that doesn't mean just shoving a digital funnel down people’s throats. The brilliance of the ACC has always been the intensity of the competition. As we say, the administrative side has always been kind of blandly gray and corporate. They need to loosen up and not just a little either.

When the Internet came along, the conference didn’t just misunderstand it. The ACC treated it with absolute contempt. We sincerely hope the gray men in Greensboro - we largely exempt John Swofford from this - realize that change will be faster and more ferocious. You sneer at innovation at your own risk. If someone calls to ask for something - as we did back in the day - for God’s sake, don’t sneer at people who could help you. Ask questions. Listen. Get your butts off the golf course and learn a thing or two before you are forced to play catch up (again).

Back to the PAC-12. Apparently the conference is considering 9:00 A.M. football games (West Coast/Mountain Time). We’re not sure it would make sense on the PAC-12 Network or on the West Coast for that matter - who in their right mind would get up at 6:00 or 7:00 to drive to a 9:00 game? Would you watch Oregon-UCLA over breakfast?

On Fox it would make sense though. It would help to compete with the conferences further east, the Big 10, SEC, Big 12 and ACC, because Back East, as the Westerners say even if they’ve never been East and therefore aren’t exactly going back, the night games can go on until 2:00 A.M., and the East is where the eyeballs are.

One final very cheap thought for the ACC. You need programing, especially during the summer. Why not tap into E-Sports on ACC campuses? You could tip one toe into E-Sports, which are getting big quickly, get kids watching the ACC Network and thinking it’s cool, and help people think about the conference in a different and innovative way.

Did we mention it would be cheap?

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