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ACC Television--An Absolute Joke

Let's go ahead and give a nice shout-out to the ACC for officially pissing me off once again.  I live in the great state of South Carolina and cannot watch the ACC Tournament.  Un-freaking-believable.  The premier basketball conference in America, and I am blacked out on ESPN (as is the rest of the state) and the Raycom sports network does not have an affiliate in this area.  Nice job Swoffy and the rest of the ACC for really screwing this one up.  Keep reading to understand how significant this is in the grand scheme of things and why you should be concerned about my viewing capabilities. 

Here is the way this whole fiasco went down. I obviously wanted to watch Clemson lose to NC State earlier in the week, but with no Raycom basketball carrying network locally, this was just not possible. I really wasn't surprised because we have been getting screwed all year with no Raycom coverage and forced to either stream the games or find them on the radio. I expected such during the week, but this really sucked when Clemson was playing on a Saturday. So I am thinking to myself that missing early round games for lack of affiliates is not a big deal since ESPN picks up the weekend games. Since Clemson lost early, I really didn't care about the other games, and found other things to do with my time than trying to watch a little ACC basketball. So its now Sunday afternoon and I want to catch some of the Championship Game. I go, turn the channel to ESPN and am informed that the game is blacked out here. I scan all the channels, only to find that there is no Raycom channel (as I already knew) in this area. Hence, I live in South Carolina and cannot watch the ACC tourney on my television.

I don't know if I didn't notice this last year because I was at the tourney, but I do not remember such a scenario in previous years but would be interested in understanding how long such a practice has been going on. The question, then, is what does this really mean? First off, if I am a basketball star in this area I will look at this and think twice about attending a school that cannot even get its tourney broadcast in some of the heart of the conference's viewing area. Next, if I am a sponsor located in South Carolina I want to know why my product is not receiving the run I would expect. I would also consider pulling or reducing advertisement dollars until this situation is addressed. Also consider other folks who may be out there in TV-land who could be watching the ACC tournament. Schools affiliated with the conference are missing out on valuable publicity and exposure because these games are not shown. This exposure effects many aspects for the universities, including potential merchandise sales, university applications, and other perks that start with athletics and yet affect many more elements of the overall university. Thus, this lack of exposure is critical for recruiting, marketing, advertisement, and generating capital/exposure for the university as a whole. On top of all that, it allows fans like you and me to enjoy the college game(s).

Some of you are probably wondering why I am blaming the ACC, not the local stations or even Raycom.  The answer is simple, Raycom and the local stations have their own personal interests in mind.  There may be some financial reason that it is not in their best interest to lock down an ACC basketball affiliate in my area.  I can understand this and thus cannot fault the individual company for looking out for itself.  Since this is the case, I would EXPECT the ACC to look out for its member institutions, especially in areas of ACC school support.  Hence, it is the job of the conference to demand that these games be televised, specifically in all areas of FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, DC, and MA because member institutions reside in these states. 

Swofford and company expect me not to believe that the ACC office is a joke. Hell, these guys cannot even get their games broadcast statewide in South Carolina, and they want people to believe that the ACC is in good hands going into a critical media negotiation. ACC schools should be screaming bloody-murder because of this reckreckless behavior and complete lack of oversight during the last round of media negotiations that did not explicitly demand a Raycom affiliate to cover every square inch of ACC territory. Instead, we get more of the same out of Swofford and crew. While the SEC has flourished over the past decade, the ACC is continually left behind. If the members of this conference do not demand better, you will continually see the Kentucky’s and Alabama’s turning laps around our participants because the ACC school members do not have the strong handed and visionary support our of the conference office to demand premiums for ACC participants. Then again, having a premier product and not showcasing it appears to be par for the course for this conference.