Charlotte — Wednesday morning in Uptown marked the unofficial start of the 2018-19 ACC Basketball season: Operation Basketball. The event — as it is every year — was kicked off by league commissioner John Swofford. In his State Of The ACC address, Swofford spoke about a variety of topics: the federal trial into college basketball, the rise of the G League and the incoming ACC Network, which is set to launch in less than a year.
Those weren’t the only topics discussed, though. Upcoming changes to the ACC Basketball schedule are high on the agenda for the league, which has caused plenty of buzz at the event.
Back in July of this year, David Teel of the Daily Press reported that the league was looking into the possibility of scheduling conference basketball games at the start of the season. Steps in the process are evolving quickly. Swofford was asked about that shift from the media contingent:
Following up on the November conference games, do you envision every school playing one conference game? When would the games be played in November? Would they be more than just the opening game? Do you see games in December as well in order to get 20 into the schedule?
Yes, yes and yes. We’ve got 15 schools in basketball. So not everybody can necessarily play a conference game those opening couple of nights. So there will be one that plays a non-conference, very high-profile game that will fit right in in terms of the quality of the game to tip off the season.
According to Swofford, television and the launch of the ACC Network — with a need for quality, live-sports inventory — are driving forces for this change, but not the only impetuses.
I think there are a lot of reasons to do a 20-game schedule even without television. Television adds another reason to do so. Probably makes it a little tougher on the coaches. But I suspect most of you welcome that. I think fans welcome that. So I think it will be popular. Having our own channel is a factor in that, because we need quality inventory and there’s nothing of any higher quality, generally speaking, than two ACC basketball teams playing each other.
Swofford on ACC Network, which will launch in 2019:
This will be big step for us in terms of exposure & financially. It's All-ACC, 24/7 & 365 days a year, w/ESPN as best partner you can have.
ESPN brings tremendous leverage to distribution table, so we feel very good about that.
— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) October 24, 2018