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Nov 05, 2018

ACC Network: Strengthening the Power of the Paw

By: Cole Little

Note: The following appears in the Louisville gameday football program


A culmination of a handful of years of detailed planning and innumerable preparatory changes, the launching of ESPN’s ACC Network in August 2019 serves as a significant milestone for Tiger athletics. Slated to carry over 1,300 live sporting events from around the ACC each year, the network will bring about some welcomed attention to the prosperity currently being experienced by all sectors of Tiger athletics.

“We pride ourselves on being best in class in digital network production,” said Graham Neff, Clemson’s deputy director of athletics. “This is the next step in showcasing that.”

Building off the platforms currently and previously presented by other ACC broadcasting stations, the ACC Network will provide ample coverage to all ACC programs, with each member school playing a major role in facilitating the broadcast efforts. Considering that the video services department within Clemson athletics is already a leading force in college athletics in terms of in-house productions, the addition of the hyper-intensive ACC Network will enable Rick Bagby, Clemson’s assistant athletic director for video & technology, and his colleagues to showcase their skills to a national audience.

“This is going to provide a bigger platform for all of our sports by way of the amplified exposure, which will help from a recruiting standpoint and will also improve the fan experience,” said Neff.

Since the official announcement of the impending launch of the ACC Network, which came in 2016, Clemson has been busy preparing for the network’s arrival by increasing the staff in the video services department and renovating Jervey Athletic Center, the hub of Clemson athletics broadcasts, to better suit the needs required of streaming the variety of athletic events set to be included in ACC Network programming.

From additional audio rooms, control rooms and studios, the renovations to the centrally-housed hub of Jervey Athletic Center have ensured that Clemson’s athletic productions will remain top-notch following the implementation of the linear output offered by the ACC Network.

“Jervey Athletic Center works really well for us because we’re able to work out of one hub,” said Bagby. “It’s very beneficial to us. Seeing the revitalization of Jervey has been pretty neat.”

A two-year renovation process that featured a bevy of moving parts, the updating and integrating of the slew of Clemson athletic facilities into compatibility with the ACC Network specifications has coincided perfectly with other groundbreaking facility projects under the direction of Joe Simon, Clemson’s associate athletic director for facilities management.

“In recent years, we’ve been maximizing all of the capabilities that we have in Clemson athletics, and the ACC Network is the next, great opportunity to continue on that growth curve,” said Simon.

Significant projects, such as the construction of the groundbreaking football and tennis facilities, as well as the planned construction of a venue for the newly-implemented Tiger softball program, have taken place on campus in recent years. Therefore, the incredible work produced by Bagby and his staff will do an excellent job to promote the grandiose facilities offered by Clemson athletics, which will assuredly aid with recruiting and make for fantastic television via the ACC Network.

“We’ll have the ability to tell more of our Clemson stories in a first-class manner because of the resources that we’re putting into it,” explained Bagby.

In order to adequately tell those Clemson-oriented stories, a dedicated team of professionals and burgeoning professionals alike will take on the onus of making Clemson’s transition into the ACC Network a smooth one.

From camera and soundboard operations, to everything in between, the detailed elements that Clemson’s video services department is composed of will require an even more sizable unit of student workers than the conspicuous one that is already in place.

“Our students are very important to us,” shared Bagby while addressing the significance of the hard-working students of the broadcast production department with Clemson athletics. “We’ve increased our student staff tremendously, because we’re going to be doing so many more events, and we have so many more positions to staff.”

 

Rick Bagby (standing) leads the group of assistants and students in the video production of events at the campus venues. Clemson students who wish to be a part of the team can contact Bagby via email at rbagby@clemson.edu.

Passionate about using his position to educate Clemson students aiming to pursue a career in the sports broadcasting field, Bagby has consistently provided student workers with hands-on opportunities to be a part of the work necessary to put on a Tiger sports production.

Aiming to hire an abundance of students to fill the new spots made available by the expansive production opportunities brought on via the future launching of the ACC Network, the revamped video services department is certain to sport a dedicated team of full-time staff members and student interns in time for the game-changing launch in August.

“Student involvement is really important, and the ACC Network will provide Clemson students with a great opportunity to learn new skill sets in a growing field,” said Neff.

While the institution of a conference-based television network will pay substantial internal dividends for Tiger athletics, from both revenue and marketability standpoints, the external dividends will come in the form of the Tigers continuing to broaden their expansive reach to their passionate fanbase. Football, baseball, basketball, softball and other Olympic sports will all regularly be on display for fans to tune into, thereby providing each program the opportunity to play in front of a large audience.

“Increasing the presence of the Tiger Paw will be invaluable,” continued Neff.

“Here at Clemson University, we all know that the power of the Paw has never been greater.”

Indeed, the Clemson legacy should continue to flourish with the rise of the ACC Network, and the ever-growing impact that the Tigers have should be intensified due to the incredible reach offered by the television channel, which will be the first of its kind for the ACC.

More than simply a platform for broadcasting sports, the ACC Network will enable Clemson to showcase itself in all facets, with August marking yet another key milestone in the longtime commitment of Clemson athletics to being the very best of the best, and making the most out of the power of the Paw.

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