The CW Network has secured exclusive broadcast rights to 50 ACC college football and basketball games each season through 2026-27.@TheCW acquired the rights to these live games from Raycom Sports who sublicenses the rights from ESPN.— The ACC (@theACC) July 13, 2023
: https://t.co/B1wBQSR9I8 pic.twitter.com/oAZWpwL1f4
Raycom Sports, the ghost of the famed Jefferson Pilot/Lincoln Financial regional broadcasts, has remained a part of the ACC, broadcasting a Saturday noon ACC football game most weekends and various college basketball games throughout the season. Up until this season, Raycom was still the home for some of the conference’s tournaments, like women’s basketball and baseball. Even after the SEC severed ties with Raycom and the ACC got its own network, the partnership has remained, and in the age of streaming, has often been a thorn in the side of fans.
Raycom games in the South have recently been shown on Bally Sports, the artist formerly known as Fox Sports South. If you are an Atlanta Braves, Hawks, Dream, or United fan, you know where this is going. Bally is not available on the two major cable alternatives, YouTube TV and Hulu live.
For Clemson fans, this has been less of a football issue and more of a basketball problem. The football Tigers haven’t been stuck on Raycom in what seems like forever, and probably won’t be anytime soon. The Raycom games are usually some of the least juicy matchups on the ACC’s slate for any given weekend. Even when Clemson plays its in state FCS game, we usually can count on at least being on ACC Network. But if you’re like me, and you enjoy watching as many games as you can on Saturday, not having the option to see some of these games was frustrating. It was mind-numbing when I lived in the Atlanta area that I often couldn’t watch the Georgia Tech games that were happening 15 minutes from me.
Basketball has been a bigger issue, as the hoops Tigers have had some pretty good matchup on Raycom, leaving cord cutting fans searching for alternatives. Bally offers a stand alone streaming service, but in addition to having to pay extra, it also isn’t super reliable. I tried it for a free trial during the Clemson-UVA men’s hoops game last year and the app completely cut out the last minute of the game.
Now, our problems have been solved. The ACC, Raycom, and the CW have announced that 50 football and basketball games will appear on the CW network of channels. The CW, as you can probably guess, is available for Youtube TV and Hulu Live subscribers. For my needs personally, Youtube TV has been pretty much perfect for college football and basketball, save for this one issue, and now that’s gone. But even if you don’t have cable, Youtube TV, Hulu, or whatever, the CW can be picked up in many areas with an over the air antenna. Truly, this makes the ACC more accessible to fans.
While I don’t think we’ll get the glorious return of Jefferson Pilot Sports, it will be a nice bit of nostalgia for long time ACC fans to enjoy Raycom games on local television again. Mike Hogwood (RIP), Doc Walker, and the others were a huge part of my formative years of Clemson fandom, and while it sometimes seems confounding that this partnership still exists, as long as it does exist, I am happy that it is watchable for many more of us now. Now if we can just figure out something for those Braves games. But until then, hit up your local Food Lion or grab yourself a Bojangles biscuit and tea because Raycom sports are back!