ESPN will base ACC Network out of Bristol instead of Charlotte

When the ACC Network was announced jointly by the ACC and ESPN in 2016, the conventional wisdom was that it would be based in Charlotte, NC where the SEC Network is headquartered. ESPN has nixed those plans, and will instead base the ACC Network in Bristol, CT. The ACC Network will launch in 2019.

And while ESPN has invested heavily in its Charlotte studios, the Worldwide Leader told its personnel that its Bristol, CT campus, where it built its so-called state-of-the-art “Death Star” three years ago, will be its home.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford felt that even though Charlotte might have been the more traditional choice, Bristol is a natural fit:

“Some had the sense that Charlotte was a natural, but, really, both locations are within our footprint,” Swofford said, referring to the conference’s northeastern schools of Boston College, Pitt and Syracuse. “ESPN has been looking at different scenarios since before we announced that we are moving forward with the ACC Network. We ended up in a really good place.”

But even with the ACC Network based in Bristol, there will be some presence in Charlotte as some programming will be produced there and some executives will work from North Carolina.

However, the bulk of ACC Network’s production and operations will be done from ESPN’s headquarters. Just like SEC Network, each ACC school will its own studios to feed the network.

In addition, ESPN is downplaying the ACC Network’s location. Vice President of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus tells Sports Business Daily that it was just easy to have ACC Network in Bristol:

“In today’s world of video communication and technology, physical location is becoming less important every day. This was a circumstance born out of having the most resources at our disposal in Bristol to deliver on our plan for the ACC Network.”

The network is still on schedule to launch on time, and there are already agreements in place with some pay TV companies.

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