CHARLOTTESVILLE — The ACC Network has arrived.
The conference’s new 24/7 national network officially launches on Thursday night at 7 p.m. with a kickoff show, followed by a new Duke basketball documentary.
It will begin a new era of media in the conference, which joins the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 as Power-5 conferences that have their own network.
Here are five things to know as the ACC Network hits the airwaves.
The ACC Network currently has carriage agreements with DirecTV, Google Fiber, Hulu Live TV, Optimum, PlayStation Vue, Suddenlink, Spectrum TV, TVision, Verizon Fios, and YouTube TV, among others.
Several major TV providers, including Comcast/Xfinity, Dish Network and Cox cable have yet to reach carriage agreements with the ACC Network. Whether those providers will add the network in the near future remains unclear.
“We are very pleased with the distribution agreements that we have in place currently, and as you’d imagine, we continue to have lots of conversations, and productive conversations, with other distributors for ACC Network coverage, in the ACC footprint and beyond the footprint,” Rosalyn Durant, ESPN’s senior vice president, college networks, said in a recent conference call with reporters. “We are very fortunate to already have multiple viable options in place for fans to access the network if their home distributor does not carry it. There are four national distributors in place already with DirecTV, Hulu Live TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV is the latest one, and we anticipate more options in the near future.”
The ACC Network will be on Chanel 612 on DirecTV, right next door to the SEC Network (611) and the Big Ten Network (610). On Spectrum Cable, the ACC Network will be on Channel 388. On Verizon Fios, the network will be Channel 329 for standard definition and Channel 829 for high definition.
Launch night opener
The ACC Network will kick off its programming at 7 p.m. Thursday with a two-hour episode of “All ACC”, the network’s news and information show.
Kelsey Riggs, Jac Collinsworth, Jordan Cornette and Dalen Cuff will co-host the show, which will feature a variety of notable guests, including ACC Commissioner John Swofford, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney, Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, former Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward, two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and former North Carolina women’s soccer great Kristine Lilly, Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw and former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
According to the ACC, a variety players and teams from across the ACC also will make appearances on the show, so don’t be surprised if you see an appearance from a UVa athlete or coach.
The first 10 minutes of the ACC network launch will air on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
Following the two-hour launch special, the ACC Network will debut “The Class that Saved Coach K” at 9 p.m.
The 90-minute documentary will tell the story of Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his 1982 recruiting class — Mark Alarie, Jay Bilas, Johnny Dawkins and David Henderson — that helped turn the Blue Devils into a national college basketball power.
It will be the first of numerous documentaries that the network will produce. Among them will be “Unbelievable: Virginia’s Improbable Path to a Title”, which will focus on the UVa men’s basketball team’s run to the 2019 national championship. The documentary will air sometime this fall, though the network has not announced a specific release date.
The ACC Network will air approximately 450 live sporting events per year, including 40 regular-season football games as well as 150 men’s and women’s basketball games.
The network’s live sports coverage begins on Sunday at 2 p.m. when reigning NCAA women’s soccer champion Florida State hosts Wisconsin. The ACC Network will televise 89 field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball games in its debut year.
The Virginia football team’s first three games this season will air on the ACC Network, starting with a 7:30 p.m. matchup at Pittsburgh on Aug. 31.