Navigating challenges and embracing change: Jim Phillips addresses the future of ACC football

Charlotte, NC – ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips addressed the 2023 ACC Football Kickoff event in Charlotte, expressing excitement about the conference’s future and its new home in the city. He began by remembering the tragic loss of three Virginia student-athletes and assured that their memory would never be forgotten. Phillips touched upon various topics, including the ACC’s partnership with Disney and ESPN, a new strategic marketing initiative, and the commitment to support student-athletes amidst the evolving landscape of college athletics. He also emphasized the ACC’s involvement in finding solutions to the name, image, and likeness (NIL) issue and discussed the ongoing efforts to expand the College Football Playoff. Furthermore, Phillips highlighted the ACC’s athletic and academic achievements, the Unity Tour’s success, and the new 3-5-5 conference scheduling model.

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips at 2023 ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte

A New Home in Charlotte and Branding Initiatives

The ACC’s relocation to Charlotte has been met with positive energy and support from the city and its members. With nearly 90,000 ACC alumni residing in Charlotte, the bond between the conference and the city is strong. The conference office’s move to the Legacy Union building on the 12th floor has been a significant step towards strengthening this relationship. In addition to the relocation, the ACC has launched a strategic marketing and branding initiative in partnership with Wasserman and Laundry Service. This campaign, set to launch soon, will encompass various media platforms, showcasing the conference’s forward-facing brand identity.

Strong Partnership with Disney and ESPN

The ACC’s collaboration with Disney and ESPN has been a cornerstone of its media exposure and financial success. Despite the challenges faced by both the media and college sports industries, the partnership between the ACC and Disney remains unwavering. Key figures from both organizations have solidified their commitment to a comprehensive growth and innovation strategy, which includes increased ACC football television exposure on ABC and ESPN platforms. The conference is set to benefit from elevated production value and innovative approaches in broadcasting. The Commissioner emphasized that the relationship with Disney and ESPN will help transform the ACC for years to come.

Addressing Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL)

The changing landscape of college athletics, particularly regarding name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights, has been a significant challenge for the ACC and its member institutions. The conference is in favor of student-athletes benefiting from their NIL opportunities but emphasizes the need for a national solution to address the inconsistency of state NIL laws. The ACC aims to protect student-athletes from bad actors and ensure they have access to legitimate representation and reliable information about NIL opportunities. The Commissioner reaffirmed the conference’s commitment to providing clarity and transparency in this evolving landscape.

College Football Playoff and 3-5-5 Scheduling Model

The ACC has been a proponent of an expanded College Football Playoff (CFP) and made progress in resolving issues related to a 365-day calendar for college football. This initiative, which includes enhancing player safety, has been well-received. The 2023 season marks the first implementation of the conference’s new 3-5-5 scheduling model, eliminating divisions and providing each school the opportunity to play against every other school over a four-year period. The top two teams in winning percentage will compete in the ACC football championship game, enhancing competition and creating excitement for fans.

Athletic and Academic Excellence

The ACC’s athletic accomplishments continue to be unparalleled, with a record-breaking nine NCAA championships won by its member institutions. The conference has also excelled academically, with a strong focus on providing comprehensive support for student-athletes’ education and personal development. The ACC’s commitment to racial and social justice, health and safety, and professional development for student-athletes reflects its dedication to creating well-rounded individuals.

Detailed Summary for James Phillips full press conference at 2023 ACC Football Kickoff

00:09 ACC football kickoff held in Charlotte, new branding initiative launched

  • ACC football kickoff event held in Charlotte with live coverage on ACC Network
  • ACC has relocated to Charlotte and anticipates strengthening partnerships with the city
  • New strategic marketing and branding initiative launched with Wasserman and laundry service
  • New forward-facing brand campaign to be launched in partnership with schools
  • Constant communication with Disney and ESPN regarding media rights partnership

04:03 The ACC and Disney/ESPN have solidified their partnership and implemented multiple initiatives to transform the conference.

  • The ACC has benefited from increased television exposure on ABC and ESPN platforms, elevated production value, and innovative approaches tied to the broadcasts.
  • There is a commitment to greater integration of ACC schools across all aspects of the network production programming, storytelling, sales, and marketing.
  • New events and programming, such as the ACC SCC men’s and women’s basketball challenges, have been introduced exclusively on ESPN.
  • There are plans for continued creative approaches, significant partnerships on data and technology, and deeper campus integrations across various areas.
  • The ACC leadership has made a comprehensive commitment to support shared goals of innovation, growth, and financial stability in the next decade and beyond.
  • Significant enhancements were made, including ESPN acquiring the rights to the ACC women’s basketball tournament and baseball championship.
  • Ally became an official sponsor, supporting the ACC women’s basketball tournament, women’s soccer championship, and women’s lacrosse championship.
  • There is a collective commitment to support and advance women’s sports, and Disney/ESPN partners are working to foster this relationship.
  • Proud of the healthy and direct conversations among ACC presidents, chancellors, and athletic directors on league and national topics.

08:02 ACC remains strong and bullish about the future

  • Success incentive initiative initiated
  • Efforts to find solutions for college athletics’ pressing issues
  • Focus on federal legislation for name, image, and likeness rights
  • Protection of student athletes from bad actors
  • Engagement with Congress for a national solution

11:35 College sports must address today’s challenges and provide clarity on NIL opportunities for student athletes.

  • Address NCAA regulations regarding inducements and pay-for-play through a national enforcement effort.
  • Address booster engagement in recruiting through NIL collectives.
  • Support student athletes’ ability to monetize their name, image, and likeness through legitimate NIL activities.
  • Develop guard rails to prevent inducements and provide reliable information about NIL opportunities.
  • Ensure transparency and access to representation for student athletes.

15:33 ACC is committed to providing opportunities and protecting student athletes.

  • ACC will work with others in the College Community to ensure opportunities are untainted by inducements and false promises.
  • ACC will fight for a system that provides access to affordable higher education for student athletes annually.
  • ACC will continue to fight for a system that provides opportunities and develops leadership skills for young men and women.
  • ACC will fight for a system that allows student athletes to realize their dreams of becoming professional athletes.
  • ACC will fight for a system that advances women’s sports in the country.
  • ACC is supportive of the expanded college football playoff.
  • ACC has made meaningful changes related to player safety in the new playing rules.
  • ACC has placed the second most teams in the college football playoff since its inception.
  • ACC has won the second most football national championships in the last decade.
  • ACC acknowledges the retirement of cfp executive director Bill Hancock and looks forward to celebrating him.

18:40 The ACC excels in academic and athletic performance

  • 16 ACC programs ranked in the top two, 6 schools ranked in the top 20 nationally
  • The ACC prioritizes academic success, with student-athletes earning multiple degrees
  • The ACC is committed to racial and social justice, health and safety, and professional development

21:57 ACC announces 2023 season schedule and new conference scheduling model

  • ACC officially welcomes gymnastics as its 28th sponsored sport and 15th women’s sport offering
  • Two new head coaches, Brent Key and Jeff Brown, join the league at Georgia Tech and Louisville
  • Alberto River Run joins as the new ACC supervisor of officials, bringing a distinguished 30-year career
  • ACC’s non-conference schedule is arguably the toughest in the country, with games against Power five opponents, bowl game participants, and teams in ESPN’s way too early top 25
  • The 2023 season will feature 12 games over five straight days, starting on Thursday August 31st
  • The ACC implements a new conference scheduling model that allows student athletes to play every school both home and away over a four-year period

25:14 Increased ACC football exposure on ABC and ESPN platforms

  • ACC has scheduled games on ABC’s Saturday Night Football and multiple appearances on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2
  • Seven ACC contests will be broadcast nationally on ABC
  • ESPN’s College GameDay will be live from the Queen City for a prime time Duke’s Mayo Classic
  • CW Network will broadcast 13 ACC football games
  • ACC Network will embark on the third annual ACC football road trip
  • Significant excitement surrounding the future of ACCN and its football programming