ACC commissioner assures schools ESPN-backed cable network will happen

John Swofford
Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s ACC linear cable network is still expected to launch despite the company’s recent layoffs, according to a leaked e-mail sent to league representatives by commissioner John D. Swofford.

In the e-mail, Swofford confirms that he has had multiple conversations with ESPN Executive Vice President John Skipper and has been told by Skipper that the network’s launch will be unaffected by the recent budget cuts.

The ACC announced last July that it was set to launch the ACC Network in the fall of 2019 in a partnership with ESPN.

According to Noles247, Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox said at the school’s Board of Trustees meeting in February that distribution totals among the schools will increase by $8-10 million in 2019-20, and then $10-15 million in later years with the network.

Wilcox said the revenues will begin jumping once the linear network launches in the fall of 2019.

“It all depends on how well the network does,” Wilcox said. “They (ACC officials) are saying this network should have the same kind of return that the SEC Network has had in their first couple of years.”

Both the SEC and Big Ten have reaped the benefits of launching their own conference networks.

“The way we close the (revenue) gap is by creating the network, which we’ve done,” Wilcox said.

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