Campus News

ACC Network launches Aug. 22

To produce shows for the network, the new Carolina Athletics Media and Communications Center near the Smith Center opened Aug. 12.

ACC Network studio construction. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Get ready, Tar Heel fans.

You can soon watch Atlantic Coast Conference sports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on the ACC Network. The network begins broadcasting on TV, computer and mobile devices nationwide on Aug. 22.

The network, known as ACCN, offers fans more chances to watch their favorite teams than ever and to learn about student-athletes and coaches. ACCN will serve up 140 Tar Heel athletic contests and related shows during its inaugural season.

Owned and operated by ESPN in partnership with the Atlantic Coast Conference, ACCN will also be on a digital platform called ACC Network Extra (ACCNX), available via the ESPN App for ACCN subscribers.

In its first year, ACCN will televise approximately 450 live contests including 40 regular-season football games, 150 men’s and women’s basketball games and 200 other regular-season competitions and tournament games from across the conference’s 27 sponsored sports. Viewers can also watch news shows and original programming.

ACCN and ACCNX will feature 1,300 ACC events in the first year.

Campus production center

To make sure Carolina’s games and stories of student-athletes are first-rate productions, Carolina has ramped up its capabilities, complete with the $15 million Carolina Athletics Media and Communications Center. The center opened Aug. 12 as home for studios and production equipment, and office and meeting space for approximately 40 staffers and dozens of student interns.

The glass-front building next to the Smith Center houses employees from athletic communications, creative services, game-day productions, goheels.com staff, marketing and promotions and video staff.

Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said that the center will function like an advertising agency and increase staff’s collaboration and ability to create content for the network, for goheels.com and Tar Heel social media channels.

“The collaboration and storytelling will come together unlike anything we’ve had in the past,” Cunningham said.

Ken Cleary, assistant athletic director for Go Heels Productions and Creative Services, said that the department hired four new employees and will hire 50 or more undergraduate and graduate students who will get to learn how to produce live broadcasts.

“Whether it be camera people or graphics people or directors or producers, we want students involved,” Cleary said. Students also can help with graphic design and post-production video distribution via social media.

With several past student workers who have gone on to work in production, Carolina’s program benefits from a pipeline connected to the School of Media and Journalism, although
students from other disciplines and academic units are welcome to apply.

“We’re really excited about getting the building open and having a lot more capacity to cover our teams, the athletic programs and our student-athletes,” Cleary said.

The first Carolina event for digital broadcast on ACCNX is a women’s soccer match at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22 against Indiana in the Carolina Nike Classic. Carolina’s first event scheduled for ACCN, produced by ESPN, is the home football game versus Miami at 8 p.m. Sept. 7. The first Carolina-produced event for ACCN will be a field hockey game on Sept. 8.

ACCN will be available on the following providers: Altice, DirecTV, Google Fiber, Hulu Live TV, Optimum, PlayStation Vue, Spectrum, Suddenlink, TVision, Verizon FIOS and YouTube TV.

ESPN will produce many ACCN events and shows from its studios in Bristol, Connecticut. The University’s staff of full-time professionals and students will produce some Tar Heel events for ACCN and all of Carolina’s games and content for ACCNX.