The ACC's television schedule is out, having been recently released by the conference. Over 175 games will be televised this year, a league record, across both the ESPN family of networks and regional coverage. It's a huge expansion of nearly 30 games built to include the entire 2016 ACC Baseball Championship.
Of those 176 games televised this year, however, Boston College will be featured in only ten, of which nine are on ESPN. The Eagles three-game series against Clemson, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech will all be televised on ESPN3, the online carrier for the network, with the annual exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox being on television with NESN for the first time in four years.
While it's certainly exciting to see Boston College on television, especially in rivalry games against teams like Notre Dame and former head coach Mik Aoki, it's a stark contrast for the team opposite the rest of their ACC brethren. The University of Miami, for example, will have all 37 home games televised on ESPN networks, with only seven games untelevised for the Canes. The Hurricanes will feature into the first 10 televised ACC baseball games and 12 of the first 13.
While BC clearly isn't Miami in terms of baseball - the Eagles can't be playing home games in February - it's a tough pill to swallow. There stands a good chance for the Eagles to do well this year, and while it doesn't receive some of the national respect as some of the other teams, nearly every other team in the ACC is at least featured with a home game on television.
This raises the question of facilities once again for the Eagles. Of the 14 ACC teams sponsoring baseball, even Pittsburgh will be televised from home. Boston College, however, isn't, mostly because Shea Field's dimensions likely can't support what's needed to wire for a television broadcast.
There's been a lot more chatter on these boards and in general about the future prospects of facilities, and I can't shed any more light on them than what's out there for rumors. But I do know this - if Boston College is going to build a baseball stadium, then it needs to be the right stadium. The Eagles can't just build another Shea Field somewhere else on campus with artificial turf so they can play home games in bad weather. They need a stadium that is able to support the growth of the game and the needs of a growing multimedia market.
Nearly every sport is televised in some capacity. With the advent of online high definition streaming, nearly every team is capable of putting forth a product that anyone, anywhere is capable of tuning into. So when the Eagles do eventually build that new stadium, wherever it is and whatever it will feature, there's a couple of absolutely necessary components that some may not be thinking about.
It needs some type of infrastructure to feature the Eagles on television. College baseball is a niche market, one where game presentation on TV actually matters less than actually being on television. Basketball and football matter when it comes to a raucous crowd or a Jumbotron trying to get people into the game. The only people tuning into college baseball on TV are either die-hard fans, families/friends of the players, or people who have an interest in watching college baseball (i.e. scouts, media, etc.).
You simply need a stadium capable of being on television with stands and a legitimate press box to accommodate those areas of interest. You need to be able to accommodate when people will eventually show up, but that can be on a temporary basis. And you need to be able to grow your program from a facilities standpoint, with the infrastructure (i.e. indoor batting cages) to be able to grow within as it hopes to grow outside.
North Carolina is on television 26 times across ESPN and Raycom Sports. They'll have 17 games televised on their own streaming network, and they'll play South Carolina on SEC Network.
Notre Dame will be on television 23 times, including eight home games.
Virginia Tech will host games on television. So will Wake Forest. So will Duke. So will Pitt.
It's time for Boston College to join that conversation.