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By Jeff White (jwhite@virginia.edu)
VirginiaSports.com
 
CHARLOTTESVILLE –– For the University of Virginia football team, its much-anticipated fourth season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall begins Aug. 31 against Coastal Division rival Pitt at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
 
ACC Network, a new 24/7 national platform comprising linear and digital, will air the Cavaliers’ opener, as well as their next two games: Sept. 6 against William & Mary and Sept. 14 against Florida State, both at Scott Stadium.
 
UVA fans who don’t attend those games, however, might not be able to view them at home. 
 
ACC Network, a partnership between ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference, will launch on Aug. 22. Its current roster of carriers includes DIRECTV, Verizon, Hulu, Google Fiber and PlayStation Vue, but agreements have not been reached with such major providers as Comcast, Charter Spectrum, Cox and Dish Network.
 
“ESPN is responsible for the entire Walt Disney company portfolio of cable networks, which creates a marketplace advantage when entering into discussions with providers,” said Stacie McCollum, senior director of programming and acquisitions for ESPN. “This marketplace position will benefit ACC Network.”
 
Todd Goodale, UVA’s senior associate athletics director for external affairs, said fans who want access to ACC Network should contact their carriers as soon as possible if those providers have not yet signed on.
 
“We need your help,” Goodale said. “The cable companies and satellite providers who have not yet signed on to carry ACC Network need to understand the demand from Virginia fans. Send emails, post on social media and call your provider to let them know you want ACC Network and if you can’t get it, you’ll make a switch.”
 
Also, Goodale noted, the Raycom Sports Network has televised ACC football and basketball games for years, but that will no longer be the case with the launch of ACC Network. In Virginia, those affiliates last season included WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, WTVR-TV in Richmond, WGNT-TV in Hampton Roads, and WWCW-TV in Lynchburg and Roanoke.
 
“If your provider is not currently scheduled to carry ACCN, you will need to sign up for one of the streaming services, like Hulu or Playstation Vue, to watch ACC Network programming, including the first three UVA football games,” Goodale said. “We’ll update our fans when new carriers are added, but at this point our fans should plan for the existing lineup to be in place to start the football season.”
 
It’s likely that ACC Network will air additional UVA football games this fall, Goodale said.
 
In addition to football, ACC Network will televise and stream Olympic sports, including 11 events involving UVA teams this fall: five in women’s soccer, three in field hockey, two in men’s soccer, and one in volleyball. The first comes Sept. 1, when the ACC Network air the UVA-West Virginia women’s soccer game.
 
In all, ACC Network will air about 450 contests live annually, including 40 regular-season football games and 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, plus Olympic sports. The network also will feature news shows and original programming, including a documentary on the UVA men’s basketball team that in April won the NCAA championship.
 
During football season, a two-hour show previewing games involving ACC teams will air each Friday evening, and ACC Network will offer pregame, in-game and postgame football content each Saturday.
 
Fans can enjoy additional coverage on ACC Network Extra, a digital platform that’s been available to ESPN subscribers for the past three years. Beginning Aug. 22, however, a viewer must have an ACC Network subscription to watch ACC Network Extra programming.
 
Between ACC Network and ACC Network Extra, about 1,350 conference events will be televised and streamed in 2019-20.
 
For more information on ACC Network, visit www.GetACCN.com.

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