CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The setting was the ACC Football Kickoff, but some of the biggest news to come out of commissioner John Swofford's opening remarks ties into the future of its basketball league.
The ACC Network, officially introduced to the media on Thursday, will launch this fall with a streaming option (ACC Extra) and then launch an ESPN-powered channel, the ACC Network, in 2019. Part of the ACC Network announcement included the note that the league will expand its conference schedule, increasing from 18 to 20 games for the 2019-2020 season.
As colleague Gary Parrish noted, this could be great as long as it leads to less "buy" games. If the two non-conference games removed from the regular schedule are games against lower conference foes, then it should increase the strength of schedule for the entire league.
If this leads to fewer "buy" games in the non-league schedule for schools, I'm on board. https://t.co/sZGfMxUvmA— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 21, 2016
In addition to potentially increasing the strength of schedule for the entire ACC, an increase in the conference schedule means two more home-and-home pairings for each school. In theory, that should help balance the schedules among the 15 teams -- or at least create less imbalance in the annual chase of a regular season championship.
But while strength of schedule and schedule balance are results of the extra two games, the name of the game is inventory. Adding an ACC Network cable channel means the league will want more games that it has exclusive rights to air, and now there's more inventory with the addition of more league games on the schedule.