CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Having launched on Aug. 22, 2019, the ACC Network is just a bit more than two years old.
As the network gears up for its third season of college basketball, it’s available on the following cable, satellite and streaming services: AT&T, Cox, DIRECTV, Dish, fuboTV, Hulu, Optimum, Sling TV, Spectrum, Suddenlink, TVision, Verizon Fios, Vidgo and YouTube TV.
But still absent from that group is Comcast, one of the three largest cable providers in the U.S.
Comcast is the main cable provider in a few markets which are home to ACC teams and its fans, including Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Miami and much of the commonwealth of Virginia. Fans living in those markets can still access the ACC Network via streaming services, but they can’t simply click a few buttons on the remote to see Pitt’s women’s basketball team face Rutgers on Dec. 1 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. They’ll have to go to Hulu or YouTube TV, wait for a loading screen, type in a password, navigate a menu, endure a buffer, and hope there’s no lag or disconnection.
So, when exactly – if ever – will the ACC Network be available on Comcast?
On Tuesday in Charlotte at the ACC Tip-Off event, Commissioner Jim Phillips remained vague and non-committal about when a Comcast deal might come to fruition.
“So, we’re down to Comcast and I am really optimistic about where that’s going, but nothing of substance today,” Phillips said. “I just know we’re getting really close. But it’s got to be something that Comcast feels good about and our group feels good about. I would just say this: I had a chance recently to visit with (ESPN executives) Jimmy Pitaro and Burke Magnus, and they’ve been incredible from a Disney and ESPN standpoint. Again, I’m really optimistic that we’ll get to the right place.
“Comcast knows the importance of the ACC Network moving forward to Disney and to ESPN, and we also understand Comcast has some things that they’re trying to work through. But it’s very amicable and we are farther along than we were in July, so there has been progress. Again, optimistic about getting this thing done.”
So, Phillips remains optimistic, and college basketball fans in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Miami and Virginia are stuck with their streaming services.
The ACC Network will broadcast more than 60 men’s college basketball games this season, and Pitt is playing in 16 of those. That slate includes the Panthers’ March 1 home game against Duke, which will be the final regular season coaching match-up between Jeff Capel and his mentor, Mike Krzyzewski. The ACC Network will also broadcast 76 women’s college basketball games this season, an inventory that will include at least eight Pitt games.
Phillips said that the ACC Network added seven million more households to its viewership in the past year by recently agreeing to deals with Altice, MediaCom and NCTC. In July, Phillips said that ACCN was available in 70 million households.