ESPN, ACC, SEC announce launch of ACC/SEC Challenge beginning in 2023
ESPN announced Monday, the morning of the tip for the 2022 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the launch of an ACC/SEC Challenge in men’s and women’s basketball, to start next year.
This is not a surprise at all, with ESPN paying through the teeth for broadcast rights to the entirety of the SEC inventory, and owning the ACC’s TV rights for a relative song through 2036.
“The future ACC/SEC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Challenges will be outstanding events for our student-athletes, member institutions and fans,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said. “The SEC, led by Greg Sankey, and our partners at ESPN have been terrific, and there’s great excitement for the first annual ACC/SEC Challenge next season. As part of this announcement, we’d like to acknowledge the Big Ten for its partnership on the ACC/B1G Challenge that spanned more than 20 years.”
“We are excited women’s and men’s basketball student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete with their colleagues from the ACC as we initiate a new Basketball Challenge experience,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “I appreciate the collaboration of Jim Phillips and the ACC members, along with our broadcast partner ESPN, to make possible the SEC/ACC Basketball Challenge which will provide our fans with exciting basketball early in the 2023-24 season. I also thank the Big 12 for the many great challenge games we experienced together in past years.”
“We look forward to showcasing the talented men’s and women’s programs throughout the ACC and SEC in the years ahead through this exciting new collaboration with both conferences,” said Nick Dawson, vice president of programming at ESPN. “Since establishing the very first interconference challenge in 1999, these events have been a staple of our college basketball schedule for more than two decades. We thank both the Big Ten and Big 12 for their partnership in the final year of our existing events and look forward to finding more ways to creatively partner with both conferences in 2023-24 and beyond.”
Just to be clear, this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge is the final one. The ESPN and ACC folks made that clear in a joint press release this morning.
The annual SEC/Big Challenge is also over after the 2022-2023 basketball season, according to ESPN and the SEC.