There are a lot of disgruntled ACC fans in the area.
The ACC Network, a TV channel which debuted last week, still has no deals with Cox cable, Comcast cable (Xfinity) or the Dish Network satellite service.
Area residents who are customers of one of those three TV providers expressed their frustration this week when interviewed at Salem Red Sox and Pulaski Yankees games.
UVa fan Charles Harris of Roanoke said he intends to drop Cox cable in favor of a TV provider that has the ACC Network.
“I’m going to find somebody that’s got the ACC Network,” he said. “I’m getting ready to dump Cox anyway because every time I turn around the price is going up. … If they don’t have the ACC channel, that’s kind of a clincher.”
The ESPN-owned ACC Network will broadcast UVa’s first three football games, including Saturday’s opener at Pittsburgh.
The ACC Network will also televise two of Virginia Tech’s first three football games, including Saturday’s opener at Boston College.
“I’ll just have to listen to it on the radio,” said Hokies fan Bob Anderson, a Cox customer who lives in Roanoke County. “I hate to miss out on it.”
The ACC Network has deals with four national TV providers — the DirecTV satellite service; the YouTube TV streaming service; the Playstation Vue streaming service; and the Hulu Live TV streaming service.
Anderson won’t be switching from Cox to one of those providers, though.
“My wife don’t like football anyhow, and if I did that, it’d be a problem,” Anderson said. “I’ve told her I’d like to get DirecTV before [and she said], ‘We’re not putting nothing on this roof.’ ”
Comcast cable has customers in Botetourt, Montgomery, Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Henry, Pulaski, Patrick, Smyth, Rockbridge and Wythe counties, as well as in Salem, Martinsville, Buena Vista, Galax and Lexington.
Virginia Tech graduate Tony Blair of Pulaski has Comcast cable.
“Comcast ought to have the ACC Network,” he said. “$256 a month and they don’t give me the ACC Network and I’m a Hokie?”
Hokies fan Tim Leake of Blacksburg also has Comcast.
“I’ve sent emails every day to Comcast, going, ‘You’ve got to pick up the ACC Network for me,’ ” he said. “I just wish the ACC would’ve thought about working earlier with the providers to make sure they could provide it to all their customers.”
His son, Blacksburg resident Sean Leake, has YouTube TV. So Sean Leake will go over to his dad’s house Saturday so they can both watch the Hokies. The younger Leake will use Chromecast, a streaming media adapter, to transfer YouTube TV from his phone to his dad’s TV set.
“He’ll just mooch off his tech-savvy son,” Sean Leake cracked.
Cox has customers in Roanoke and Roanoke County.
Bill Pratt of Vinton is a Syracuse fan, while his wife, Sandra, roots for North Carolina. They are Cox customers.
“Once we heard about the ACC Network, we started worrying about how we’re going to be able to watch the games,” Sandra Pratt said. “Our problem is that we have to get our internet through Cox; we don’t have any choice.”
“So if we drop the cable, we lose their bundle savings and then we’re paying $100 for internet,” Bill Pratt said. “It’s just frustrating.”
He has already complained to Cox three or four times about the company not having the new channel.
“It’s driving me nuts because my bill goes up every month, yet how do you not have the ACC Network?” he said. “They’re going to make me change. They’re going to make me go to DirecTV.”
Cox is still negotiating with the ACC Network, according to a Cox account services representative in an online chat Wednesday.
The new channel will televise five football games involving ACC teams this week, beginning with Thursday’s game between Georgia Tech and defending national champ Clemson.
Area residents with Shentel cable, Citizens cable, Suddenlink cable, Lumos cable or Giles-Craig Communications cable do get the ACC Network.
Virginia Tech graduate Paul Swecker of Boones Mill has Shentel cable, so he has watched the new channel.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Swecker said.
UVa fans Jim and Cynthia Messier of Bedford are Dish customers, so they don’t have the ACC Network.
“We’re very upset about that,” Cynthia Messier said. “I’ve called [Dish] twice now. I’m going to keep calling.
“My father has DirecTV, so I’ll probably go there [to watch the UVa opener].”
The Messiers had already switched from Shentel cable to Dish because Shentel does not have MASN. Jim Messier said they made the switch on “blind faith,” hoping Dish would strike an ACC Network deal by the time the channel launched.
The Messiers signed a two-year contract with Dish, so switching is not an option.
“I might pay for Hulu [in addition to Dish], I don’t know. Or YouTube,” Cynthia Messier said. “I’d really hate to do it, though.”
Duke fan John Garrett of Blacksburg also has Dish. He said switching providers is not an option for him.
“I live in the country, way out there. I’ve tried DirecTV and all the rest of them, and it just doesn’t come in good,” he said.
UVa fan Duane Wheeling of Roanoke and his wife, Katie, a Virginia Tech fan, have had DirecTV for years. So they have the ACC Network.
“We just got an offer from Dish that I was contemplating, but it didn’t have the ACC Network,” Duane Wheeling said. “That is the deciding factor.”
Hokies fans Jerry and Judy Haynes of Dublin also have DirecTV, but not the tier that includes the ACC Network. Jerry Haynes said he would have to pay $8.99 more a month for the package that includes the new channel.
“Apparently a couple people have called, complained, and they did let them have a three-month free trial. So I think I will try to get the three-month free trial, because it would be nice to see some of the Olympic sports,” he said.
Virginia Tech graduate Bobby Blankinship of Roanoke and his wife, Marissa, dropped Cox cable three years ago in favor of Playstation Vue. So they have the ACC Network.
They recommend their streaming service.
“We’re now paying less overall,” Bobby Blankinship said. “A lot of people have been saying, ‘I don’t have a PlayStation,’ but … you don’t have to have a PlayStation to use it.”
UVa fan James Cabiness of Christiansburg has the AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) streaming service, which does not have an ACC Network deal.
What will he do for the Cavaliers’ opener Saturday?
“I’ll just have to listen to them on the radio,” he said.