clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raycom Has A Problem. The ACC Has An Opportunity.

You hope they’re smart enough to see it.

 Apple’s new Vision Pro virtual reality headset is displayed during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, on June 5, 2023. Apple on Monday unveiled its first-ever virtual reality headset challenging Facebook-owner Meta in a market that has yet to tempt users beyond videogamers and tech geeks. The release was the most significant product launch by the iconic iPhone maker since it unveiled the Apple Watch in 2015.
Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Before ESPN took over, the ACC had a deal with Raycom, and that still exists in a lesser capacity. However, Raycom had a deal with Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair, to broadcast ACC basketball and football games.

But Diamond has gone bankrupt and now Raycom has lost its distributor.

It’s a valuable property and they’ll find a home quickly.

However, this is an opportunity for the ACC: if possible, the league should should insist that digital rights to Raycom broadcasts be retained and they should be pounding on the doors of Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddie Cue, who both are Fuqua grads and well aware of ACC basketball, and doing whatever they have to do to get programming on the new Vision Pro.

Frankly, we’d give it away to get early access. The 4K lenses come from Sony and the market is going to be constrained for a while by Sony’s manufacturing capacity. The audience in the short term will be small and it won’t be a major loss if it all tanks.

And obviously no one knows for sure if this is going to be a major shift in computing so if an experiment fails, it’s no big deal. But what if it doesn’t? What if this really is the future?

Apple understands that the iPhone will be replaced by something and probably sooner rather than later. Ultimately the Vision Pro will shrink and in a few years will be quite light and presumably powerful enough to go for several hours on a charge and at that point, that device, or something like it, will be what most people use.

Sports in that environment are going to be insane. One of the pitches Apple made was the ability to make the screen as big as you want and the screens are reportedly extremely sharp. What if you’re sitting on the couch and seeing the game on a movie theater screen? What if you’re allowed to pick the cameras you want to see rather than simply accepting the one TV offers you? What if you can ultimately view it like you were watching the Matrix, freeze the action and zoom around? We have no idea of how the future will develop but we can look at what we know now and that’s already full of amazing things.

Revenue opportunities are going to be huge. No one even knows what will hit. An app to apply analytics for real time gambling? Virtual courtside seats? Social media? Could the ACC design a chat app to run in the chyron? Why not?

The Vision Pro is an historic opportunity and the ACC should do whatever it takes to be in that space early. What it also offers is a chance to leapfrog the Big Ten And SEC Networks which, like the ACC’s own network, still relies heavily on television.