On Friday, the ACC announced that it had reached a record broadcast coverage TV deal for its Olympic sports for the upcoming fall season. The league will distribute media rights to at least 77 events (145 school appearances), more than doubling any previous fall Olympic sports TV package.
The good news is that Boston College fans will be treated to four televised regular season soccer matches this fall. You'll be able to watch the men's team take on Wake Forest (Oct. 6 on RSN), Duke (Oct. 19 on ACCDN on YouTube) and North Carolina (Nov. 1 on ESPN3), while you can catch women's soccer's October 4 game at North Carolina on RSN.
The bad news is that if your school is not located in the state of North Carolina, you'll probably get fewer opportunities to your school on TV this fall. Check out the number of times the Tobacco Road schools will appear on TV relative to the rest of the conference. North Carolina, N.C. State and Duke account for 48 of the league's 122 regular season TV appearances (39.3 percent). Throw in Wake Forest, and the Carolina schools account for nearly 47 percent of all telecasts.
North Carolina leads the way with 23 regular TV appearances, followed by N.C. State (15), Florida State (13), Miami (11), Virginia (11) and Duke (10). The rest of the conference breaks down as follows: Wake Forest (9), Clemson (8), Maryland (8), Virginia Tech (8), Boston College (4) and Georgia Tech (2).
BC is also the only school in the conference which won't have a regular season home game televised this fall. North Carolina, N.C. State and Duke account for 51.5 percent of the home venues that will get TV coverage. Add in Wake Forest and the Carolina schools account for nearly 58 percent of home venues.
While I get that North Carolina's soccer, volleyball and field hockey programs are regularly among the best in the conference (and often times the nation) and there are decreasing returns to sending a TV crew to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to televise a field hockey or soccer match, I question whether the increased TV exposure for the Carolina programs relative to the rest of the league will only further separate the Carolina schools from everyone else.
Here's the conference's fall field hockey regular season broadcast schedule:
Friday, Sep 14 6:00 p.m. ODU at North Carolina ESPN3
Sunday, Sep 23 1:00 p.m. Stanford at North Carolina ESPN3
Saturday, Oct 13 1:00 p.m. Virginia at North Carolina ESPN3
All three regular season games televised are North Carolina home games -- two of which aren't even conference matchups. Not sure you could even argue the counterpoint based on merit. It was Maryland, not North Carolina, that won last year's women's field hockey National Championship. The conference boasted five of the nation's top 20 programs in the final 2011 regular season rankings (six if you include Syracuse). The title game was an all-ACC affair, with Maryland edging North Carolina 3-2. Yet we are featuring one program in all three telecasts and a non-tournament team in just one of three televised contests.
Just one example of what looks appears to be a very Carolina-centric TV broadcast schedule for this fall's Olympic sports.
Increased television coverage of the ACC's Olympic sports is always a good thing, but not if it has the potential to give 1-2 programs a competitive advantage over the rest of the conference. At a minimum, it would be nice if the conference at least tried to create a more fair distribution of TV opportunities for its Olympic sports programs. Maybe there is something to the "All Carolina Conference" gripes of Florida State fans after all.