ACC Network to launch by Aug. 2019, according to sources

ByBrett McMurphy ESPN logo
Thursday, July 21, 2016

The long-awaited ACC Network will launch by Aug. 2019, according to league sources.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN have agreed to a 20-year deal and rights extension through the 2035-36 academic year, sources said.

The ACC also extended its conference grant of rights deal nine years through 2035-36, a source said.

The conference's grant of rights makes it untenable financially for a school to leave, guaranteeing in the 20 years of the deal that a school's media rights, including revenue, for all home games would remain with the ACC regardless of the school's affiliation.

The ACC's new grant of rights also automatically extends Notre Dame's contract with the conference as a member in all sports but football through 2035-36, a source said. If the Irish forgo football independence in the next 20 years, they are contracted to join the ACC.

While the linear network will launch by 2019, the ACC Network's digital channel starts this fall, sources said.

Conference commissioner John Swofford would provide any update Thursday on the ACC Network at the ACC's Football Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina, a conference spokesperson said.

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz declined comment.

The addition of the ACC Network will increase the league's overall value, putting it in line with the top Power 5 conferences.

"When the ACC Network revenues are included, the ACC will be very competitive with the upper tier (Big Ten and SEC) of the Power 5 leagues," a source said.