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ESPN, ACC to launch new network in 2019

ESPN president John Skipper gestures as he talks

ESPN president John Skipper gestures as he talks about the new ACC/ESPN Network during a news conference at the ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, July 21, 2016. Credit: AP / Chuck Burton

ESPN and the ACC announced an extension of their rights agreement through 2036 on Thursday, by which time the landscape of sports media will look far different than it does today.

But the deal includes an element that is straight out of the 2010s playbook: The network and conference plan to launch a television network in 2019 similar to those that have brought added riches to other major football-playing leagues.

In the meantime, ESPN and the ACC plan a digital network launching next month that will include more than 600 live events.

ESPN president John Skipper, a North Carolina alum, called himself a “Tar Heel, born and bred” at a news conference in Charlotte. He said ESPN would seek national distribution for the new ACC channel.

The SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 already have dedicated cable channels.

New York Sports