The launch of the new ACC Network has been nothing short of a disaster. Maybe even comical depending on your perspective. It has been one of the most ACC things ever. It’s something that the conference and ESPN both knew was coming. The new 24/7 network debuted last week with millions of cable and satellite customers having no access to it, and make no mistake, it was always known which providers would have it and which ones would not come August 22.
To make matters worse, the decision makers thought it would be a great idea to put the nations number one team and defending national champion Clemson Tigers in its debut football game, knowing that availability would be limited. If your television provider happens to be Dish Network, Cox, UVerse, or Comcast, well you are just out of luck. The ACC is telling you to contact your provider and demand it, and while that is great lip service, it is a waste of time.
Direct TV and Charter-Spectrum are the biggest non streaming television providers to have signed on to carry the network. Both got it when their deals with Disney for the rights to the entire ESPN family of channels was up for renewal. The ACC Network was included into the new deal as a way to justify an increase in carriage fees. If you want to get an idea when your provider will add it, find out when their deal with Disney is set to expire. That is what ACC Commissioner John Swofford meant when he said back at media days they were on a “3 year plan” when it comes to getting all of the providers on board.
At least Dish and Comcast have had the decency to tell customers they are in negotiations. Streaming service SlingTV told their customers for months that they in fact would be carrying the ACC Network, going as far as putting the banner up on one of the channels only for it to be removed on the day of the launch. Sling never had an agreement in place to carry it. Whether they intentionally or unintentionally deceived their customers is up for debate.
The sad part of this whole debacle is the fact that far to many fans of the Clemson Tigers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are now left scrambling for ways to watch their beloved teams kick off the 2019 season. Even sadder is the fact that in any previous season it is a game they would have had no issue finding on television. All this without mentioning how the network isn’t functioning for Direct customers inside the ESPN app. This debacle isn’t on the television providers, this is on the ACC and ESPN, and shame on them, as the only ones getting screwed here are the fans.