Phillips acknowledged the frustration of fans who subscribe to Comcast and other providers that haven’t picked up ACC Network.
“We want our consumers and our fans to be able to access the network,” Phillips said.
Phillips did not have an update about potential agreements for additional carriers and streaming services to pick up the regional sports networks that carry ACC games, such as Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast in Atlanta. The networks have been dropped by multiple streaming services, such as YouTube TV and Hulu, that carry ACC Network and have been presented to fans by the conference as alternatives to Comcast.
Tech played three football games on regional sports networks last season, and its second game this year, against Kennesaw State on Sept. 11, will be broadcast on them.
Regarding Comcast, there is a clear financial benefit for the ACC to have one of the largest cable providers in the country pick up its network. Such a deal would help the ACC and its member schools close the financial gap on the SEC and Big Ten. In the 2019-20 financial year, the ACC’s 14 full-time members received an average of $32.4 million, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a record for the conference but also well behind the SEC’s per-school distribution of $45.5 million.
A healthy revenue increase would be particularly timely now, as schools are coming off years in which their budgets were hit hard by the attendance caps necessitated by COVID-19 and the additional costs necessary to safely administer practices, games and travel. Tech, for instance, instituted furloughs across the department and made other budget cuts as ticket revenues dropped from $11.3 million in 2019-20 to $3.8 million in 2020-21.
“That’s why I would just say to you, this is as critical of a football season as we’ve had,” Phillips said. “Not just the ACC, but college football in general, because of what we’re all coming off of. And we all understand what it was on our campuses with furloughs and positions not being filled and positions being eliminated and all those things. We’re all going to do everything we can to have a healthy and successful year to have it back to somewhat normal.”