ACC Network launched along with college football season, and their distribution has been impressive. But college football is only part of the equation for a college league network; basketball season is obviously the other main driver, and that’s maybe especially true for the ACC.
The league announced their college basketball programming today, and in addition to plenty of regular season and conference tournament matchups, the network will feature dual All Access series following both the Notre Dame women’s team and the North Carolina men’s program.
First, the games themselves, via ESPN release:
ACCN will air 68 men’s conference matchups, and a number of women’s basketball games, including ACC powerhouses Notre Dame and Louisville, plus four Women’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge games throughout the network’s inaugural season. Additional games and times will be announced in the coming weeks.
The 2019-20 men’s basketball season will open strong on ACCN with four high-profile matchups on November 5 and 6. Leading off, Georgia Tech will play at NC State, and Miami will host Louisville on November 5. The following day, Virginia visits Syracuse and North Carolina hosts Notre Dame.
Reigning NCAA Champion Virginia will make six appearances on ACCN starting with its opener against Syracuse on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The Cavaliers will also host North Carolina (Friday, Dec. 6 or Saturday, Dec. 7) and Boston College (Wednesday, Feb. 19) at John Paul Jones Arena, and will play at Georgia Tech (Saturday, Jan. 18), Wake Forest (Sunday, Jan. 26) and Miami (Wednesday, March 4).
ACCN will also televise the three first-round games of the 2020 New York Life ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, March 10 live from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
In addition to the six UVA games exclusively on ACC Network, at least five Duke games, five Louisville games, six Syracuse games, and seven North Carolina games will be also be featured.
ACC Network’s partnership with ESPN, which obviously has existing rights deals with the ACC, means there are some games that could end up on the league network if flexed there at a later date:
Eighteen men’s basketball games are set for net flex selections, with the matchups to be determined for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ACCN at a later date. In total, more than 120 in-conference ACC men’s basketball matchups will air on ESPN’s networks.
The league will also obviously feature plenty of women’s basketball:
ACC women’s basketball coverage on ACCN gets off to a strong start with 2018 NCAA Champion Notre Dame hosting Michigan State on Thursday, Nov. 14. Other marquee nonconference matchups include Syracuse hosting preseason top-ranked Oregon on Sunday, Nov. 24, along with a pair of Big Ten/ACC Challenge doubleheaders on Wednesday, Dec. 4 and Thursday, Dec. 5. Miami hosts Indiana and the Fighting Irish welcome Minnesota on Dec. 4, while North Carolina hosts Illinois and Florida State plays Michigan State on Dec. 5.
As you’d probably expect, the network will also feature some original programming, with the most interesting options being the pair of All Access documentaries:
A rare, behind-the-scenes look at the 2019-20 Notre Dame women’s basketball program will be showcased leading into the upcoming season in All Access with Notre Dame Women’s Basketball. ACCN cameras had exclusive access to daily team activities along with a variety of off-the-court events, as this program follows the team on its journey toward discovering its new identity through team bonding, sunrise workouts, and practices. The one-hour show will premiere on ACCN on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m.
The program synonymous with championships will be on full display throughout the 2019-20 season as fans will get a rare all-access look into the inner workings of the North Carolina men’s basketball program with All Access: A Season with Carolina Basketball. The series will highlight the many dimensions of the North Carolina basketball program, its notable alumni and what it’s like to be part of the Carolina Family. The multi-part series will debut in October and air exclusively on ACCN.
Considering college football just started, it’s kind of jarring to realize that college basketball is also not really that far away. It’s an important time of the calendar for league networks, but it’s especially crucial for the ACC Network as it continues to push for wider distribution.