Limited attendance for games at Scott Stadium this fall leaves Virginia football fans with few options to watch the Cavaliers.
With the ability to watch the Wahoos in-person all but gone this season, UVa fans are forced to watch Bronco Mendenhall’s team on TV or through a streaming service.
Through the first two games, that means fans needed access to the ACC Network.
Anyone who wanted to watch the Cavaliers face Clemson, the nation’s No. 1 team, last Saturday, needed to do so through the ESPN-owned network that launched in 2019.
For Virginia fans who receive their cable packages from Comcast’s Xfinity, that’s bad news.
The cable provider doesn’t have a deal with ESPN’s ACC Network, leaving those fans to find other ways to access the channel.
“While we currently do not have an agreement with Comcast to carry ACC Network, it is available nationwide through distributors like DIRECTV and DISH and all major pay TV streaming providers, including AT&T TV NOW, fuboTV, Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube TV — all of which can be activated immediately without a service call,” Amy Ufnowski, the manager of communications for the ACC Network, said via email.
Comcast didn’t provide The Daily Progress with a statement, but a company spokesperson reiterated the fact that there is no deal between Comcast and ESPN to carry the ACC Network. There is potential for a deal to be completed at some point as conversations between the two parties continue, but there’s no timetable for when that might occur.
The uncertainty and lack of a current deal has some Virginia fans upset and leaving the cable provider.
UVa football commit Josh McCarron told The Daily Progress that his family, which lives in Washington state, is making the switch from Comcast Xfinity to YouTube TV because the new offering includes more channels they like to watch, including the ACC Network. McCarron will join the UVa program next fall.
By making the switch, his family will have a chance to watch other Virginia football games this fall. Saturday’s matchup with N.C. State will air on the ACC Network, as will the Cavaliers’ Oct. 17 game at Wake Forest.
Virginia’s first four games of 2020 are all scheduled to air on the ACC Network.
When asked on Twitter what they do on weeks the football team plays on the ACC Network, a few Virginia fans who use Comcast Xfinity replied saying they try to find an online stream or they skip watching the game altogether.
Other Virginia fans use services like Hulu and YouTube TV in addition to their cable package from Comcast.
Caroline Darney, the managing editor for NCAA Team Brands at SB Nation, uses Comcast Xfinity but added Hulu specifically for the ACC Network. The UVa graduate, who frequently covers the Wahoos and the ACC for SB Nation, needed access to the channel for work.
“It’s really frustrating to incur the extra costs,” Darney, who lives in Charlottesville, said. “I actually really enjoy the programming and the production of the ACC Network, so it’s annoying to both pay for and log into another service to watch games for work.”
Some fans shared that they kept Comcast for internet services, but removed their cable package and bought a streaming service like YouTube TV to gain access to the ACC Network and other channels. Others rely on family members with logins to different cable providers, using that access to stream the Wahoos on game days.
Unfortunately for UVa fans using Comcast Xfinity, there’s no known timetable for a future deal between the cable provider and the ACC Network.
That leaves fans scrambling to watch last season’s ACC Coastal Division champions.
As one fan shared via Twitter direct message, “Comcast should have made a deal, might lose some ACC fans.”
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