The Atlantic Coast Conference is set to become the latest US college sports organisation to launch its own broadcast network after agreeing a 20-year deal and rights extension with sports broadcaster ESPN, according to multiple reports.
ESPN.com said the ACC Network will launch by August 2019 through the fresh agreement, which is set to run to the end of the 2035-36 academic year. The linear network will be preceded by a digital channel which will be formed this autumn.
Citing a source, ESPN.com said the ACC has also extended its conference grant of rights deal by nine years through to the end of 2035-36. The grant of rights makes it financially untenable for a member school to leave, guaranteeing in the 20 years of the deal that media rights for all home games would remain with the Conference regardless of a college’s affiliation.
The ACC's new grant of rights is also said to automatically extend Notre Dame’s contract with the conference as a member in all sports barring American football through to the end of 2035-36.
An ACC spokesperson said commissioner John Swofford is set to provide an update on the matter on Thursday.
The formation of a network would see the ACC join rivals the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 in holding its own platform.