Saturday, July 31, 2010

Raycom assures itself of Duke, Carolina basketball

ESPN just grabbed the rights to ACC coverage for 12 years, in a deal that starts next year, but the cable behemoth will continue to work in conjunction with Raycom out of Charlotte.

Raycom has essentially been the broker for ACC games - that is, Raycom has controlled the rights and then sells the games to different networks. There was some concern at Raycom, as the ACC was working out its deal, that the company would be shut out of negotiations if the ACC went with ESPN.

Instead, the league and Raycom found a way to work together with ESPN. ESPN will still get the biggest chunk of games and the prime contests, but Raycom, in the contract, will still be involved. In fact, Raycom will get at least five UNC or Duke basketball games a year, including at least one Duke-UNC game.

Here's the interesting part - in the past, ESPN was shut out in local markets of one Duke-Carolina game. But now, there will be two broadcasts of the game, on both ESPN and locally. So in the Triangle, you'd be able to see the game on WRAL ... and a different broadcast on ESPN.

By the way, it says something about the power of the Carolina and Duke basketball brands that it was written into the contract that Raycom had a share of those games. You can bet that didn't happen with, say, Miami and Florida State games ...

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