Virginia Tech unveils $10M ACC Network operations hub ahead of launch

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Deep in the bowels of Lane Stadium, the future is here.

And come Thursday night, after more than two years in the making, Virginia Tech's new $10 million control center, along with 14 others around the ACC, will go live.

"I've waited my entire life in the ACC to see it," said Angie Littlejohn, VT's senior associate athletics director for internal operations. "We're going to produce every fall home sporting event, which is amazing. They've never done that here before, and it gives our fans an opportunity to see our student-athletes. It will help us in recruiting."

Indeed, the ACC Network will provide a platform for 450 live TV game broadcasts for teams and sports that didn't always get that type of exposure.

Hokies football coach Justin Fuente sees a financial benefit to the new network.

"You look at what this league's been able to accomplish without being at or near the top of some of the revenue numbers that you see in the other leagues," he said. "I think it's encouraging for the future of our entire league."

The network also provides a unique opportunity to non-athletes attending Virginia Tech.

Up to 80 students will be a part of the production team at Tech, getting hands-on real-world experience in the TV industry.

"No one's ever asked what my grade point average is on a job interview, so they want to know what you can do," said ACC Network operations senior director Eric Frey. "They want to know the kind of equipment that you can use, the kind of shows you've worked on. So they can come in and say they've worked on ACC Network, or any of the ESPN family of networks that come in here and do linear shows.

"They get direct interaction with ESPN personnel when they come in here to work with us, so it's a great tool for them to go on and find a job at a school or a pro team or even at ESPN if they want to."

It's a setup that just might entice future Hokies both on the field and behind the scenes.

The ACC Network launches Thursday at 7 p.m.

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