CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Calling increased distribution “critical,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips indicated Tuesday that progress is being made to getting the ACC Network to Comcast/Xfinity customers, a group that includes nearly 20 million subscribers nationwide, including many in Virginia.
Those homes spent the last season unable to watch Virginia and Virginia Tech games on the league’s television network, which does have carriage agreements with Cox, Charter Spectrum and Verizon Fios, plus Dish Network, DirectTV, Hulu and YouTube TV, among other cable alternatives.
“It’s one of the top priorities I’ve had,” said Phillips. “Distribution is critical for us. … Those frustrations are real. We’ll never be the conference that we need to be until we get some of those issues taken care of.”
Phillips announced Tuesday that Virginia Tech’s Oct. 9 game against Notre Dame, as well as Clemson’s Oct. 2 game against Boston College, would also air on ACC Network. Both are marquee matchups.
Phillips noted that Comcast’s current contract with Disney — which owns ESPN and the ACC Network — is coming up for renewal and indicated that could provide an opportunity to add ACC Network to its lineup. The current deal runs out in September, according to sources.
“I think we have a great plan coming up,” said Phillips. “A lot of the carriers and providers, including Comcast, renewals coming up this late summer and into the fall. I think we’re making tremendous progress with them.”
The provider is the cable source for more than 20% of television viewers nationwide.
The commissioner said the league’s channel is currently available in about 70 million homes across the country.
Seven of Virginia Tech’s 11 games last season, and eight of UVa’s 10 aired on ACC Network.
ACCN is already scheduled to carry 14 games in September, including Illinois at Virginia, Virginia at North Carolina, Old Dominion at Wake Forest, and Liberty at Syracuse.