The long-awaited ACC network launches tonight. The network, which includes a linear television channel and digital streaming platform, will be owned by ESPN with revenues and expenses divided by ESPN and ACC, but the specifics of this agreement – who carries what costs and who receives what percentage of the revenue – are unclear . In its press release, ESPN writes:
Approximately 450 live competitions, including 40 regular season football games, 150 men's and women's basketball games, and 200 other regular season competitions and tournaments from the 27 sponsored conference sports will be televised annually, plus news and news programs and original programming. Together, ACCN and its digital platform, ACC Network Extra (ACCNX), will present 1350 ACC events in their first year.
News Observer writes that the ACC network debut "will end with a long-awaited moment of arrival that will help shape the future of the ACC and determine the legacy of John Swofford, the longtime commissioner of the conference who leads the league through years of uncertainty. " The New York Times writes that it" demonstrates the continued importance of television as the biggest platform for mass consumption of sports, a reminder that a one-two punch for subscription fees and advertising dollars – a combination that protects against the rise of ESPN remains remarkable. "
The ACC Network also illustrates how the burgeoning college sports business relies on cheap labor and the willingness of schools to invest huge amounts of money in production costs. Many ACC schools are already hooked into creating multi-million dollar studios that can pump content to ESPN platforms. News Observer writes:
Each ACC school has already invested resources to build studios on campus to prepare for the ACC network. The construction of the studios was mandatory, though, as McCollum, ESPN's executive director, said, "it depends on them what they spend." In theory, this may be true, although McCollum acknowledged that schools must have the necessary equipment to facilitate digital broadcasting.
Studies are not cheap, although some schools save costs by upgrading existing facilities. N.C. State did this and still spent approximately $ 6.6 million. UNC built a new studio next door to the Smith Center and spent $ 15 million. Both UNC and NC NC will have to pay off this debt before making any profit from the network.
ESPN and ACC Network officials try to rotate campus studios as facilities that will benefit their campus communities, instead of costly overheads, it can take years to pay off.
The News Observer also noted that the workforce needed to work with these studios will be drawn from the student body:
"(They) will be used for student production groups, their student shows and the like. things, "Aaron Katsman, producer of ACC Network, told the studio. "So it improves everyone. Everyone wins. "
Another aspect of university studies: they are likely to rely on student labor to varying degrees – workers who may or may not be paid, depending on their agreements with their schools. For campus-made games, the network, Katsman said, "will rely on school production groups." The games will be the ACC's main offering, its main outlet.
ESPN would naturally try to spin using cheap student workers as a profitable profit – enriching student labor is not a whole new idea in college sports – but it is shortsighted. Industry sources have told Deadspin that using student workers is a dubious work practice, likely to result in lower quality broadcasts, and will necessarily force professional camera operators and directors to lose their jobs.
ESPN's agreement with the ACC is very similar to its set – With the SEC Network launching in 2014. SEC Schools have been in the race for university-wide studio weapons for years. SEC schools also rely on student work.
If you are a student or professional involved in broadcasting or streaming SEC or ACC games and would like to talk about your experience, I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.