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ACC Network closer to launch, but still no deal with largest cable provider

What will it mean for Miami fans with Comcast? 2 of first 3 games on ACC Network

North Carolina defensive lineman Jason Strowbridge attempts to block a pass by Miami quarterback N'Kosi Perry during the second half of a game, Sept. 27, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Florida.
North Carolina defensive lineman Jason Strowbridge attempts to block a pass by Miami quarterback N'Kosi Perry during the second half of a game, Sept. 27, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The executives behind the soon-to-launch ACC Network have a message for Miami fans: Pack some patience.

There's plenty of anxiety among fans of Atlantic Coast Conference teams as the countdown until the league's new linear channel launches Aug. 22 without an agreement with Comcast, the nation's largest cable television provider.

But Rosalyn Durant, senior vice president of college networks for ESPN, which owns the ACC Network, said Thursday the goal remains to get the ACC Network before the greatest amount of eyeballs.

"We are very pleased with the distribution agreements that we have in place currently," Durant said during a conference call to discuss the set unveil for the new network.

She said there are "productive conversations" ongoing with other distributors, though she declined to specify which ones.

The ACC Network already has agreements with four national carriage providers, the largest of which is DirecTV. Other providers are PlayStation Vue, Hulu and YouTubeTV.

Durant said she wants the ACC Network to be "as widely available as possible."

"Fans deserve that," Durant said.

That's good news for fans of the Hurricanes. Two of Miami's first three games will air on the ACC Network -- the conference opener at North Carolina on Sept. 7 and the home opener against Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 14.

Unlike many of the games seen on ESPN's family of networks, games shown on the ACC Network won't be available on the WatchESPN app or ESPN website.

Miami's season opener against Florida, scheduled for Aug. 24 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, will be played two days after the ACC Network launches. That game will be shown on ESPN, but an alternate production will air on the ACC Network.

Durant said conversations with other providers will continue "through launch and beyond launch."

Defending national champion Clemson will host Georgia Tech on Aug. 29 in the first-ever college football game on the ACC Network. Two other conference games -- Virginia Tech at Boston College and Virginia at Pittsburgh -- are slotted for the ACC Network on the first full Saturday of the season.

Could there be a scenario in which the Nov. 2 rivalry game between Florida State and Miami winds up the ACC Network?

No matter whether a deal is in place with Comcast or any of the other cable or satellite providers by the time the college football season begins, that's not going to deter ESPN from scheduling quality matchups on the ACC Network.

"The level of quality is not dependent upon distribution discussions," Durant said.


To find out more information about the ACC Network and how to get it, click here