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Production Notes: ACC Network Celebrates Its First Anniversary

ACCN commentators, executives, and ACC Commissioner John Swofford share some of their favorite moments from network's inaugural year

ESPN’s ninth domestic network, ACC Network, launched one year ago. Since Aug. 22, 2019, the network has provided hundreds of live events surrounded by countless hours of original programming.

In its debut year, ACCN was nominated for three Sports Video Group awards and one Sports Emmy and won a gold medal for “Best Animation” at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.

Front Row takes a walk down memory lane as ACCN commentators, executives, and ACC Commissioner John Swofford share some of their favorite moments from network’s inaugural year.


VICE PRESIDENT, PRODUCTION, AMY ROSENFELD

“Following the premiere of All ACC on launch night, ACC Commissioner Swofford addressed the entire studio team, commentators, production, and technicians. It was a moment I’ll never forget. I rarely get emotional – I got emotional.”

ACC Commissioner John Swofford addresses on ACC Network staff.
(Nick Caito/ESPN Images)

ACC COMMISSIONER JOHN SWOFFORD


VICE PRESIDENT, PROGRAMMING, STACIE MCCOLLUM

“Being at Clemson on Aug. 29, 2019, for the first football game on ACCN stands out to me. College GameDay and The Huddle welcomed fans to the network; country music star – and former Clemson football player – Lee Brice was on hand, and ACCN was honored during the pregame coin toss. And to top it off – right before kickoff, DISH Network signed on to carry the network.”


KELSEY RIGGS, HOST, ALL ACC

“Launch night will always be unmatched. I’ll never forget the feeling I had, standing in Studio G, watching the opening montage that detailed the history and pride that comes with each of the ACC’s 15 institutions. I’ll always remember looking around at everyone in the studio and holding back an emotional grin as we watched ACC Network come on air for the first time, and feeling so incredibly proud and grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this team.”

Kelsey Riggs (L), Dalen Cuff, Jordan Cornette, Mark Richt, Jac Collinsworth, Eric Mac Lain and EJ Manuel on the ACCN set during launch day. (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

ERIC MAC LAIN, FOOTBALL ANALYST, THE HUDDLE

“There are too many special memories and moments from year one to pinpoint just one. Above all, it’s the people that make ACCN special.”


EJ MANUEL, FOOTBALL ANALYST, THE HUDDLE

“I always had hoop dreams to play college basketball and in the NBA, so having the opportunity to shoot hoops in Cameron in front of one of Duke’s best and fellow colleague and friend Carlos Boozer, Jordan Cornette and E-Mac [Mac Lain] was an incredible experience. It was a great weekend in Durham – our first weekend out of the studio and on the road! I’m not sure I would have had that same opportunity if not for ACC Network.”


AARON KATZMAN, COORDINATING PRODUCER

“Covering Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game was not only a celebration of Clemson’s fantastic season but, in many ways, a chance to recognize the excellent work our football crew did all season. I remember watching as our commentators and crew interacted with folks from GameDay, SportsCenter, among other shows and thinking ACCN had ‘made it.'”

(Krista Meyers/ESPN)

MARK PACKER, HOST, PACKER AND DURHAM

It’s not every day when you get informed by a caller on live TV that your father is no longer alive. I was planning on calling “Billy” after the show, but obviously a quick call on the air to my mother was necessary. Thankfully she confirmed that all was ok. It made for a rapid heartbeat and an eventual good laugh, and who doesn’t enjoy that combo to jumpstart your morning?”


LACHINA ROBINSON, ANALYST, WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL/WNBA

Holly Rowe surprised cancer survivor Kyla Nelson of Pitt women’s basketball on game day and served as our reporter for her return to the court against Miami (OH) on Dec. 17, 2019. We were able to document the entire day and share Holly’s relationship with Kyla as a fellow cancer survivor. It was emotional to say the least. We all need cheerleaders and I am both Kyla’s and Holly’s.”


WES DURHAM, HOST, PACKER AND DURHAM

“When we arrived to do the show ahead of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals, the “floating shoe” (blimp) was already in place. Pack immediately began trying to figure out how he might be able to fly it around the building. He took control of it, and hilarity ensued.”


CORY ALEXANDER, ANALYST, COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Katie George’s post-game interview with Brandon Childress following Wake Forest’s upset over Duke on Feb. 25, 2020, stands out to me. I’ve known the Childress family for a long time, and I was incredibly proud of Brandon’s and Deacs’ effort to come back and beat Duke. Postgame, Katie did a great job standing in the middle of the court storm, composing not only herself but also Brandon with her questions – she was in total control.”


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