Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence before an Aug. 29 game against Georgia Tech.

The reigning national champion Clemson Tigers (including quarterback Trevor Lawrence, seen above pre-game) begin their season tonight against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8 p.m. Eastern), but because the game is on the new ACC Network, there will be a whole lot of people who can’t watch it. The network launched last week with as many as 36 million subscribed homes thanks to a deal with Charter, but that still means that there are at least 83.9 million homes in Nielsen’s estimated U.S. TV universe who don’t have an ACC Network subscription. That includes a whole lot of big providers, including Comcast, AT&T Uverse and more. However, as per John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Dish/SlingTV signed a “handshake deal” for this one game:

The Clemson-Georgia Tech game is just the first ACC Network one that will be unavailable to those who don’t have a network subscription. There are going to be four more games on ACCN this weekend, with Utah State playing at Wake Forest at 8 p.m. Eastern Friday night and East Carolina-NC State, Virginia Tech-Boston College and Virginia Tech-Pittsburgh all taking place there Saturday (at noon Eastern, 4 p.m. Eastern, and 7:30 p.m. Eastern respectively). And starting next week, there will be games on “ACC Network Extra,” digital-only content that will require authentication of an ACC Network subscription.

Of course, none of that necessarily means that ACC Network is a failure. The estimated 36 million-ish homes for the network at launch still compares favorably to some other networks (especially the Pac-12 Networks, currently only in an estimated 19 million homes), and they have deals with a lot of big providers. The conference network launch is also going to lead to a lot of revenue for their schools, which could help them improve their position in the pecking order against other Power 5 conferences. But the ACCN launch has come without a lot of big providers signing on, and that means there will be plenty of fans annoyed about not being able to watch their teams this weekend.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.