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John Swofford, 2019 Commissioner Forum at ACC Media Days: ACC Network, Gambling and More

Down in Charlotte at ACC Media Days — with football season less than two months away — league commissioner John Swofford spoke in front of the assembled media. As he does every year at the event, Swofford discussed the overall health of the conference and a few notable news items.

At the top of everyone’s mind is the ACC Network.

 

The ACC Network

The primary focus of Swofford’s forum centered around the launch of the ACC Network, which will flip the switch on Aug. 22. That’s, like, a month from now.

With a partnership between the ACC and ESPN, the 24/7 national network has been in development for at least three years now. Over the last year, a more clear picture has been offered as to what the network will look like — from a content and personnel standpoint.

This will now include a Friday night two-hour preview show going into that weekend’s games. The program will be hosted by Jac Collinsworth.

In addition to that, the Swofford also announced what the network’s broadcast teams will look like for football: play-by-ball, color analyst and reporter.

More questions, however, surround how the league and network plan to attract eyeballs to its content. There are distribution and cost concerns to consider.

Back in March, DirecTV joined Verizon FiOS and Altice along with Hulu and Playstation Vue — two streaming options — as carriers for the network.

There’s still plenty more to figure out, though. Cable providers like AT&T U-Verse, Comcast, Charter-Spectrum and the Dish Network have yet to reach an agreement/deal with ESPN.

 

Sports Gambling

While the ACC Network grabbed most of the headlines, there was also a brief mention of sports gambling and its ever-evolving legality.

Several states in the league’s elongated footprint, like Pennsylvania and New York, have full-scale legal sports gambling. Other states — North Carolina, for instance, where the ACC is headquartered — have at least had bills recently introduced but not passed on gambling.

That’s not much of a deviation from what Swofford stated at last year’s event. He took a mostly neutral stance, but claimed to not like the optics of it.

 

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