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ESPN To Run ACC Network At Bristol HQ, With 70 Jobs

ESPN Inc. announced Monday it will operate its ACC Network, with about 70 jobs, at its Bristol headquarters.

The multimedia sports company said the ACC Network, which will report on and cover the Atlantic Coast Conference, will be at the ESPN headquarters rather than Charlotte, N.C. The ACC conference includes 15 universities.

ESPN, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co., spent $100 million to build a 194,000-square-foot studio three years ago for programs such as “SportsCenter” and ESPN’s NFL studio programming.

ESPN said observers initially believed the channel would operate in Charlotte, and share its headquarters with SEC Network, which has been based in the city since its launch in 2014.The SEC Network is a digital cable and satellite television channel owned by ESPN. While many of the schools in the ACC are located further south, including the University of Miami, the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University, and the University of North Carolina, there are a handful further north like Syracuse University and Boston College.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced plans last year to launch an ACC Network by 2019.

“Some had the sense that Charlotte was a natural, but, really, both locations are within our footprint,” Swofford said, referring to the conference’s northeastern schools of Boston College, University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

ESPN will keep its site in Charlotte, with some ACC Network executives such as Rosalyn Durant, senior vice president of college networks programming, remaining there.

Charlotte staff will continue to produce studio programming for SEC Network. ESPN’s Charlotte studio will conduct some coach and player interviews for ACC Network, but its studio production and operations will be in Bristol.

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