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ACC Network: Guys, gals, it’s just not working

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Another flaw with the bungled rollout of the ACC Network: you’d never heard of ACCNX until last night, when you had to scramble to find a way to get the first few minutes of UVA-Virginia Tech.

It’s not bad enough that you have to change everything about the way you watch TV to be able to access ACC Network, which still isn’t available through Xfinity, the major cable carrier in the ACC footprint – i.e. the Eastern Seaboard.

And now you’ve come to realize that when your game is stuck on ACC Network – and that’s what it feels like, that you’re stuck there  – you’re at the mercy of the schedule ahead of it.

It’s not like when a game is on ESPN, and the preceding game runs over, and they can start your game on ESPN2, ESPNNews, ESPNU.

When you’re on ACC Network, and the early game goes late, you’re screwed.

I turned on ACC Network around 5:45 p.m. ahead of the 6 p.m. scheduled broadcast for UVA-Tech, and the game ahead of it – Georgia Tech-Florida State – still had seven minutes-plus left.

This was not good news.

It wasn’t until right at 6 p.m. that somebody from the studio in wherever their studio is told viewers that the game would begin on ACCNX.

How to access this ACCNX, the studio didn’t let on.

I went to my desktop computer to try to locate this mysterious ACCNX, to no avail.

Eventually I went online to a message board and saw a comment thread in which someone suggested just using the ESPN mobile app.

By the time I was able to log in, Virginia had already hit two threes and was up 6-2 a minute and a half in.

The Georgia Tech-FSU game didn’t end up 6:13 p.m.

The UVA-Tech game was in a media timeout at the 13:53 mark of the first half.

I know several people who picked it up from there – who, in other words, couldn’t figure out, or just didn’t bother, exploring the alternatives.

I know more people who still, a year and a half into the rollout of ACC Network, haven’t bothered to find a way to subscribe, and just don’t watch games involving their teams that are there.

For UVA fans, that means you missed eight of the 10 football games your favorite team played this fall, and nine of the 15 your basketball team has played.

But, good news there, only two of the final nine games in the regular season are ACC Network games.

Yes, I know, you will miss the endless loops of “Packer and Durham” commercials, but somehow, you will soldier on.

Seriously, though, you have to wonder if the unfortunate timing for the rollout of ACC Network, a few months ahead of the worldwide pandemic that shut down live sports for the past 10 months, and isn’t likely to lift until the start of the next college sports season in the fall, is having an impact on bottom lines among the member schools.

No way that network is making a dime, with the major cable carriers not signing on, and a wide swath of fans not logging on.

And then, with fans largely unable to attend games live, and disconnected from their favorite teams because so many games are on a network that they can’t access, might that also be having an impact on donor dollars?

I’d have to think that’s almost a given, and I’d worry, if I worked in one of the athletics foundation offices up and down the coast, that we might lose touch with many of these folks forever.

It’s a hunch on my part, but a somewhat educated one.

I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating, that reader numbers on our ACC coverage have taken a severe hit since sports started back up with football in the fall.

It’s to a point, again, where we have to examine our commitment to continued coverage, in the context of us wanting to get the best use out of our resources, and weighing the amount of work that goes into providing in-depth analysis of college athletics.

This is me talking here. I’ve covered ACC athletics since 1995, written two books on UVA basketball, live, breathe, eat, sleep, bleed college sports.

This ACC Network has me about to tap out.

Unmitigated disaster doesn’t begin to describe it.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press