The ACC and ESPN officially announced the details of the new TV deal. Some previously unknown tidbits came to light including the disposition of the Sunday Night basketball games and how both UNC-Duke games would be handled. First, in a move which will undoubtedly require me to upgrade to digital cable, the Sunday Night Game(s) will be televised on ESPNU once the deal goes into effect for the 2011-12 season. Yeah, that sucks since ESPNU is not being carried on most basic Time Warner packages. I have to wonder if some pressure will be exerted to get Time Warner to make ESPNU(and ESPN3) more readily available or will we all be stuck watching it on justin.tv? Also, the Sunday games will be broadcast at 2 PM and 6 PM instead of 5:30 PM and 7:45 PM which has been the case on Fox Sports. The coaches will love this. Due to familial responsibilities, I tend to like the night games but it is what it is.
As for the UNC-Duke game, ESPN will broadcast both with a caveat. The midweek, early February game will be broadcast on both ESPN and Raycom without the blackout of ESPN in Raycom markets. ESPN's John Skipper(a UNC alum) said they wanted fans to have a choice of which annoying announcers they wanted to torture themselves with broadcast to watch. The same will likely be true for the ACC Tournament which has been blacked out on ESPN for local markets because of the Raycom broadcast.
A few other notes:
- The entire baseball and women's basketball tournament will be televised. The women's title game will be slated for either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC which raised the profile for that sport significantly.
- The noon start for football games on Raycom will be replaced by a 12:30 PM start. I think most people will like that, especially the tailgaters.
- Raycom Sports will be rebranded the "ACC Network." Unfortunately there is no way to rebrand Mike Hogewood.
- The official pay out for the ACC? $155 million over 12 years. All 12 ACC schools get an equal slice of the pie.
I would point out that according to Skipper, this is the first time football and basketball have been bundled together in one TV deal. Such is the state of ACC football that it alone was not enough to command this kind of money. The ACC had to bring basketball along, in particular the UNC-Duke game, to sweeten the deal so to speak. The ability to broadcast or syndicate every ACC game involving UNC and Duke is probably not football money but it does have value enough to get the ACC a nice payday.