ACC Gametimes 11/28: The art of scheduling games on TV in 2015


Usually this is the space where we predict the gametimes for the Thanksgiving set of ACC games.
That week features a ton of rivalry games:

  • BC/Syracuse
  • NC State/UNC
  • Wake Forest/Duke
  • Virginia Tech/Virginia
  • Florida State/Florida
  • Georgia Tech/Georgia
  • Louisville/Kentucky
  • Clemson/South Carolina
  • Miami/Pittsburgh

Coincidentally this week features the ACC battling SEC schools in 4 games. This may actually help the ACC have games on actual TV stations.

We all were a bit stunned when the gametimes were released for November 21st. There were three main issues that a number of fans took umbrage with regarding the ACC’s games:

  1. No ACC games that week were in primetime.
  2. ESPN chose to broadcast 3 mediocre SEC games in the 3 main primetime slots
  3. Florida State’s game vs FCS opponent Chattanooga was put on a traditional TV channel while a conference game between Duke and Virginia was relegated to ESPN3.

SportsChannel8, like many fans, was perplexed with the ACC gametimes of that particular weekend and tried to find some answers to the issues mentioned above. Fortunately, a source was able to provide some clarity with how the ACC’s football TV package works.

For starters, the ACC is in a position where they have three separate entities (ESPN, Raycom and Fox) they deal with on a weekly basis. Obviously for selfish reasons, each entity wants the best games with the best teams week in and week out.

We know ESPN gets their first choice when it comes the weekly ACC schedule. If after ESPN has gone through the weeds and made sure there isn’t a SEC football spring game they can air that week, they more than likely take the best ACC game. This typically ends up with the ACC getting blocked out of any primetime slots, though because of great SEC games such as Georgia Southern vs Georgia and 5-4 Tennessee vs 4-5 Missouri needing to be on ESPN U and ESPN2 in primetime. Why would you think Top 20 UNC at Virginia Tech, where legend Frank Beamer will walk out to Enter Sandman one more time, needs to be in primetime over those great SEC battles…I will stop right there before I get mad.

After ESPN gets their pick, the ACC Network (Raycom) more often than not gets their choice before Fox (RSN). There are instances beyond that where both ACC Network and RSN then do split broadcasts or doubleheaders which even more makes the scheduling difficult.

Both the ACC Network and RSN, especially once we get to the end of the season, start looking at who they’ve had on their networks throughout the season. Both outlets do everything in their power to have every ACC team at least once. Looking specifically at the week of November 21, this is why the Chattanooga vs Florida State game made a RSN tv spot. Florida State to this point had not had a game on RSN and Fox/RSN wanted to make sure they got the Seminoles at least at one point this season. Given the pecking order of how this goes throughout the season, it is highly likely this is the only time RSN even had a shot at a Florida State game.

That should help Duke and Virginia fans who felt embarrassed/angry that their game was relegated to ESPN3. This was more of a “It’s not you, it’s us” response by Fox, where they had to take this Florida State game, if they wanted the Noles this year.

Also, this is 2015. Being put on ESPN3 isn’t as big of a deal as it once was. Most people have started to unbundle anyways from traditional TV, to where watching something on ESPN3 is now normal.

Hopefully in the near future maybe this Duke/Virginia game could be something that is exclusively aired through the ACC Digital Network even. The guys over there at the ACCDN deserve this.