Good news for Pitt fans: ACC Network will soon finally be available on Comcast

CRAIG MEYER
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

The long and maddeningly persistent nightmare for many Pitt fans throughout Pennsylvania and beyond is finally over.

Comcast announced Tuesday that the ACC Network will be available to its customers "in the coming weeks" as part of its renewed content carriage agreement with the Walt Disney Company, which owns ESPN and all of its various channels, including the ACC Network.

The agreement comes more than two years after the conference's network launched, a period in which a channel that carried a number of Pitt games across many sports was unavailable to customers of the largest cable provider in the state. This season alone, five of the Panthers' 12 regular-season football games aired on the ACC Network during a season in which they've gone 10-2 and made the ACC championship game, where they'll play Wake Forest Saturday.

That frustrating, seemingly never-ending standstill caused some fans to switch cable services and even prompted administrators like Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke to advise fans to contact their cable providers and tell them to add the ACC Network.

There had been recent signs that a deal was looming. Since taking over as the league's commissioner earlier this year, Jim Phillips has prioritized getting the network added to Comcast's offerings. In October at the annual men's basketball media day, Phillips said the conference was "getting really close" to an agreement.

Now, those hopes have translated into something more tangible.

"We're very happy to extend our longstanding relationship with Comcast and continue to provide their Xfinity customers with Disney's best-in-class programming," Disney executive Sean Breen said in a statement. "In addition to our news, sports and general entertainment offerings, the launch of the ACC Network in the coming weeks, paired with the renewal of the SEC Network, will give Xfinity's college sports fans long-awaited access to their favorite games."

The renewal of the deal also includes continued distribution of the SEC Network, which launched in 2014. ESPN+ and Disney+ services that Comcast initiated earlier this year will continue to be available to customers.