A deal The CW forged with the ACC last week gives them exclusive broadcast rights to 50 football and men’s and women’s basketball games each season through 2026-27.
The timing of the deal is perfect for the ACC as it just cut ties with the bankrupt Bally Sports, which operated the state’s regional sports network.
In the last few years, Bally Sports’ parent company, Diamond Sports Group, got caught up in a series of carriage and distribution disputes with TV providers. This resulted in the ACC games – which were controlled by Raycom Sports and, therefore, not televised by an ESPN channel – becoming increasingly difficult for viewers to find.
After Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy in March, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Christopher Lopez issued an order to void the company’s contract with Raycom, including the ACC games.
North Carolinians will be pleased to learn that the University of North Carolina Tar Heels are among the ACC teams they’ll be able to watch under the new deal, which comes just in time for North Carolina sports betting, scheduled to launch the first half of 2024.
Details of the Deal
Throughout each season, The CW will broadcast:
- 13 football games;
- 28 men’s basketball games; and
- nine women’s basketball games.
The first ACC football game will air on The CW on Sept. 9 with a matchup between the Pitt Panthers and non-conference opponent Cincinnati Bearcats. Games will air every Saturday through the season during the afternoon and in primetime.
The basketball games will be featured in December, January and February, with men’s basketball doubleheaders every Sunday afternoon.
Tar Heels fans will most likely have to search out their The CW affiliate to catch the Tar Heels play, seeing as each season saw them play at least one football game on the RSN package and several basketball games on the men’s and women’s sides.
Raycom Sports will continue to produce the games for The CW as it did for Bally Sports.
More about exposure than revenue for the ACC
Although the ACC will earn marginal financial gain from the move, from a visibility standpoint it’s an enormous win. Of course, the ESPN family of networks (ESPN/ABC/ACCN) will get first dibs on the top games, so don’t expect to see Duke vs. UNC or Carolina vs. Clemson on The CW any time soon.
But what’s truly remarkable about the agreement is that the league will now have its games available online for folks who’ve severed ties with their TV subscriptions.
“We are thrilled to be adding The CW to our weekly television lineup for ACC football and basketball games,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement. “The CW’s national distribution will directly benefit our student-athletes, teams, alumni, and fans.”
This move for The CW indicates expansion as it comes on the heels of another major deal it struck with LIV Golf to live stream its tour on The CW app.
“We are committed to making The CW a destination for live, appointment-viewing sporting events,” Dennis Miller, President of The CW Network, said in a statement.
The CW has a free app
Free with no login, the CW app will be the easiest way for ACC fans to watch their teams play.
Fans can already stream LIV Golf tournaments through the CW, and this fall they’ll be able to enjoy their favorite North Carolina football and basketball teams too.
Along with the app, viewers can access The CW through DIRECTV, most basic cable providers and streaming services like Hulu, FuboTV, and YouTube TV.
The CW has apps for Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, VIZIO, and Roku. However, it bears mentioning that you can only access these apps from inside the US.
Image Credit: Ben McKeown / AP Photo