Last month, we learned that the Diamond Sports Group, the ones in bankruptcy and holders of a contract from Raycom Sports to show ACC games, had decided in bankruptcy court to let go of that contract and give Raycom the ability to search elsewhere to show games on that deal. It wasn’t a small amount of games, either, as every Saturday had a game on the RSN group, and several men’s and women’s basketball games would frustratingly be on one of these channels that are increasingly hard for people to access.
On Thursday, the ACC announced that the package will move to The CW. Not just The CW in a few areas like in the old days of syndication, but nationally across their free over-the-air network.
The package includes a total of 50 college football and basketball games over the course of the season, and the first one to air over The CW will be September 9th as Pitt takes on Cincinnati.
Over the course of each season from 2023 to 2027, The CW will show 13 football games, 28 men’s basketball games, and 9 women’s basketball games. There is a high probability that at some point you’ll likely have to find your CW affiliate to watch the Tar Heels play, as each season saw them play at least one football game on the RSN package as well as a couple of games on the men’s side and some women’s game.
While the ACC won’t benefit financially from the move-Raycom is the one who pays money to the ACC, and they turn around and sell the rights to be shown-from a visibility stand point the move is a tremendous win. The pecking order is still going to have the ESPN family of networks (ESPN/ABC/ACCN) as first rights, so don’t expect Duke/UNC to move to the CW any time soon, and don’t expect Carolina/Clemson in football to be played there. However, now the league will have its games available on a network that cord cutters can access, and this includes their marquee programs. Plus, now fans who live across the country won’t have to scurry to figure out if they live in an area where their RSN shows the game.
The move for The CW is further expanding their sports department, as they recently took on LIV Golf — the tour that is likely about to go away with their merger with the PGA. It’s a sign they want in on the one product that can produce an audience without having to deal with the trouble of creating a tv show. It may also be a sign that they are about to become a player in the sports rights game as other conference deals are up in the air at the moment.
Do yourself a favor and figure out which station is your CW affiliate now. Sooner or later you’ll be able to catch UNC play on it.