ACC Network and ESPN Films are teaming up to produce a multi-part documentary on the history of the ACC Tournament.
The Tournament: A History of ACC Men’s Basketball Presented by New York Life will debut Monday, Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. ET following ACCN’s telecast of the Pitt-West Virginia game. Part 2 of the documentary will premiere directly afterward at 10 p.m. ET.
Two episodes of The Tournament will air each Monday at 9 and 10 p.m. ET through March 7. The 10-part documentary, spanning 1954 through 2020, will be the largest production of original programming for ACC Network since its launch in August 2019.
Here’s a look at the trailer for the docuseries:
For anyone wondering if the ACC Tournament warrants a multi-part documentary, consider the history and impact of the event. Beginning in 1954, the ACC was the first conference to determine its champion with a postseason tournament. And this was during an era when conferences received only one bid to the NCAA Tournament.
But the ACC Tournament also features the rich history of the conference with its many star players and iconic coaches. Michael Jordan, Ralph Sampson, David Thompson, Len Bias, and Tim Duncan are among the many to shine in the tourney. Of course, Dean Smith, MIke Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Jim Valvano headline the coaches who built their legends in those games. In addition, ACC play changed college basketball with innovations like the shot clock and three-point line.
The Tournament will also feature an ad campaign starring Grammy Award-winning rapper Rapsody leading viewers through ACC basketball history, the figures who made it, and the stories that will be told in each pair of episodes.
Filmmaker Jonathan Hock (who’s directed several 30 for 30 projects for ESPN Films among many documentary projects) and John Dahl (ESPN’s vice president and executive producer for original content, films, and special projects) are executive producers on the project. Emmy Award-winning director Larry Weitzman (NBA at 50, The Last Gladiators) helmed the longform series.
“After having the opportunity to work on the 30 for 30 Survive and Advance and later The Class That Saved Coach K, I was already a true believer in ACC basketball as the essence of the college game,” said Hock in the official ACCN announcement.
“But telling the story of the ACC Tournament from its very beginning was a journey of discovery for me and the whole production team, with every unopened film can revealing another treasure, and every interview bringing to life priceless stories. There’s no greater conference tournament in sports, and it’s all in here.”
“All we had to do was sit down with the wonderful characters who have created ACC lore, and the stories and the passion just poured out,” added Weitzman. “The challenge wasn’t finding enough fascinating material. The struggle was which amazing stories we would have to leave out.”
You can read a synopsis of each episode of The Tournament: A History of ACC Men’s Basketball at ESPN Press Room. The documentary premieres Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. ET.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.