(Cover photo: University of Louisville head volleyball coach Anne Kordes, right, with Aniah Philo. Credit: University of Louisville Athletics)
University of Louisville Athletics/Ashli McLean
University of Louisville head volleyball coach Anne Kordes was all smiles as she talked about the new Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Network as being a game-changer for recruiting, exposure, and overall interest in the sport.
“It’s very exciting that we’ll see more female athletes regularly on national television and have an opportunity for our fan base to grow,” said Kordes. “It changes the game in recruiting. You want to sell your program and culture. Those aren’t always things that you can write on a note card and send in the mail. You want kids to see you play and see what your program is like. This network opens up more opportunities for people to see us play.”
ESPN and the ACC will launch the ACC Network, a comprehensive linear and digital network, it was announced today by ACC Commissioner John Swofford and ESPN President John Skipper at the conference’s annual Football Kickoff media event in Charlotte, N.C. The 20-year partnership will provide ACC fans unprecedented access to live events via a comprehensive, multi-platform network. It also provides for the extension of the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036.
Beginning in August 2016, fans can access more than 600 exclusive live events from across the conference via a digital live-events channel – ACC Network Extra – immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app. More than 1,300 ACC events will be distributed across the platforms in 2019 when the linear network launches. The linear network will feature 450 exclusive live events including 40 regular-season football games, more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, more than 200 other regular-season contests and tournament games from across the conference’s 27-sponsored sports, plus a complement of news and information shows and original programming.
ESPN has been televising ACC content since 1979 and has exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and conference sports matchups, as well as all ACC championship events.
“We look forward to working with our longtime partners at the ACC to create a network that reflects the depth and quality of its athletes and teams, and serves the fans who passionately support them. We are proud and excited to add the ACC Network to our industry-leading college content offerings,” said John Skipper, ESPN President.
“On behalf of the ACC Council of Presidents, Faculty Athletics Representatives and our ACC Television Committee, we are tremendously pleased to further enhance our long-term partnership with ESPN that includes the creation of the ACC Network and ACC Network Extra, and positions the conference for the long-term future,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “This partnership continues to be a win-win for ESPN and the ACC. ESPN is the premier provider in sports content and this agreement will deliver unprecedented coverage to our fans, while highlighting our quality student-athletes, coaches and institutions.”
“There has been an abundance of hard work invested in this venture, particularly from Commissioner John Swofford,” said Tom Jurich, U of L Vice President and Director of Athletics. “We have worked closely with ESPN so we may plan to successfully launch this platform and have the network flourish. This is a terrific next step in the branding of the ACC and Cardinal Athletics. We look forward to working with the ACC and our television partner to develop exciting ACC programming for fans everywhere.”
For Kordes, who runs a top-25 college volleyball program, the ACC Network is all about exposure and being able to sell it. She’s hoping to peak the recruiting interest of girls from California, New York City and elsewhere, noting the fact that parents will be able to watch their daughters play every match.
“I want a little girl from Hawaii to be a U of L volleyball fan, you know,” Kordes added, “growing up [saying], ‘I like the way they play. I like how competitive they are.”