February 27th, 2014 01:30 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: ACC, ESPN, Mid American, SEC
While they won’t stack up well against the new SEC Network, ESPN has announced plans to launch a number of conference-dedicated “television” channels over the internet. According to Variety, the channels will be “stocked with live events and on-demand replays” all streamed over the internet and available through Apple TV and Roku devices.
The leagues receiving the additional online coverage will be the ACC, America East, Atlantic Sun, Big West, Horizon, Mid-American, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Southern, Sun Belt, Southland, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Southwestern Athletic and Central Intercollegiate Athletic.
Think folks in the ACC are happy to be a part of that group?
John Swofford’s conference sold its media rights to ESPN in May of 2012, limiting the league’s ability to launch an additional ACC Network on television. While the league’s schools signed a grant-of-rights agreement last year that most consider to be binding, if there is further shifting on the collegiate landscape it will likely start in ACC country.
To watch the new channels you’ll need either Apple TV or Roku plus a subscription to a satellite/cable-provider affiliated with WatchESPN. That might seem like a lot of steps today, but as television and the internet continue to merge into one pipeline over time, these new online channels could grow in value.
WatchESPN exec Damon Phillips notes that “one of the benefits of a digital network is, because it’s event-based programming, you might have five games per day or one game per day.” In other words, you can click and watch any one of a number of football or basketball games all airing at the same time. Whereas with a traditional television network, the SEC will have to schedule its games throughout the day so they can air separately.
While it may be a digital benefit in Phillips’ eyes, here’s guessing most fans would prefer to turn on a TV network and watch one game after another rather than turn to an internet channel, pick one game, and miss all the others airing at the same time.
In case you’re wondering, there will be an SEC digital network as well as the new television channel which launches in August. That digital network will be run by ESPN as well.
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