TV Answer Man, I read today that Comcast is getting a deal for the ACC Network. Does that mean a deal will be ready by this weekend’s games? What’s your take? — Tyrone, Arlington, Virginia. 

Tyrone, several publications today are reporting that Comcast is “really close” to landing a carriage deal for the Disney-owned ACC Network. However, before you break out the pom-poms, let’s take a closer look at those reports and why they may be a bit premature.

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips yesterday held a press conference on a number of topics including whether  Comcast will ever add the ACC Network, While several pay TV providers such as DIRECTV and Dish offer the regional sports channel, Comcast has never carried it due to a carriage dispute with Disney.

Comcast’s carriage contract with Disney’s entire suite of channels (including ESPN) is expected to expire sometime this year so there have been recurring reports that the cable operator could soon add the ACC Network as part of a new agreement.

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Phillips yesterday told reporters that “I am really optimistic about where that’s going. We’re getting really close.”

The statement triggered the headlines saying Comcast and the ACC Network are “really close” to a deal. However, note that Phillips did not actually say they are “really close.” He said they are “getting really close.” That suggests the two sides are on the 30-yard line, not in the Red Zone.

The Roanoke Times writes that Phillips further qualified his remarks after the press conference:

“These deals are never that easy. They’re just not,” Phillips said. “Comcast knows the importance of the ACC Network … to Disney and ESPN. And we also understand Comcast has some things they’re trying to work through. But it’s very amicable. And we are farther along, I would say, then we were in July. So there has been progress, most definitely. And again, optimistic about getting this thing done.”

That quote indeed sounds like they are getting really close, but they are not really close, as the headlines are suggesting. The difference is that I don’t think we can expect an agreement by this weekend, although it’s certainly possible. Phillips himself said yesterday that he’s not sure when it will happen.

It’s also worth noting that Phillips said last May that he thought a deal would be done in September so the commissioner’s forecasts, while refreshingly optimistic, may not reflect the actual status of the negotiations.

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The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation, and report back here if anything changes.

Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann