Raycom Sports

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Raycom Sports
Industry Sports Broadcast Television
Sales & Marketing
Event Management
Founded 1979
Headquarters Charlotte, North Carolina
Area served
United States (Nationwide)
Key people
Ken Haines
(President & CEO)
Products ACC Basketball
ACC Football
ACC Properties
Owner Raycom Media
Website www.raycomsports.com

Raycom Sports is an American syndicator of sports television programs. It is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and owned and operated by Raycom Media. It was founded in 1979 by husband and wife, Rick and Dee Ray. Since its inception, it has produced and distributed football and basketball games from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) of the NCAA. It was also a distributor of games from the Southeastern, Big Eight, and Big Ten conferences, as well as the now defunct Southwest Conference.



Rick Ray was a program manager at WCCB in Charlotte when he proposed that WCCB produce more basketball games. Ray thought that they would be very profitable for WCCB, given North Carolina's reputation as a college basketball hotbed. However, station management turned him down. Not long after setting up shop, Ray put together an early-season basketball tournament which became the Great Alaska Shootout.

Partnership with Jefferson-Pilot Communications[edit]

Two years later, Raycom made what would prove to be its biggest splash when it teamed up with Jefferson-Pilot Communications to take over production of ACC basketball games. The package had begun in 1957 when Greensboro businessman C. D. Chesley piped North Carolina's run to the 1957 national title to a hastily-created network of five stations across North Carolina. It proved popular enough that it expanded to a full-time package of basketball games the following season. Chesley retained the rights to ACC games until 1980, when the conference bought him out and sold the rights to MetroSports of Rockville, Maryland.

For the 1980-81 season, the two companies formed a joint venture, Raycom/JP Sports, that won the package after the ACC turned down Metrosports' bid to renew its contract. From 1983 to 1986, Raycom and JP offered a pay-per-view package called "Season Ticket."

Jefferson-Pilot Sports (later Lincoln Financial Sports) alone produced syndicated Southeastern Conference basketball games from 1987-2006, and SEC football games from 1992-2006. The rights also included parts (if not all) of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament.[1][2] In addition, Jefferson-Pilot also produced some Olympic programming in the wake of the 1996 Summer Olympics [3] Click here for all the logos Jefferson-Pilot's sports division used during its 26-year history.[4]

In 2006, the name of Raycom's partnership changed to Raycom/LF Sports, the "LF" is Lincoln Financial, the marketing name of Lincoln National Corporation, which purchased Jefferson-Pilot that year. As a result of the purchase, Jefferson-Pilot Communications was renamed Lincoln Financial Media.

Starting in 2004, the same partnership took over production of syndicated ACC football games; Jefferson-Pilot had produced ACC football alone since 1984. In 2007, Raycom began broadcasting the ACC men's basketball tournament in HD and broadcast 4 ACC men's basketball regular season games in HD in 2008. Raycom Sports also owns and operates the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.

Unlike other sports syndicators, Raycom controlled nearly all advertising for the broadcast, but paid stations for the airtime. While this was a risky strategy at first, Raycom reaped a huge windfall since ACC games frequently garnered ratings in the 20s and 30s. By a happy coincidence, the ACC's regional territory included several fast-growing markets such as Charlotte, the Piedmont Triad, the Triangle, Hampton Roads, Richmond, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Purchase of Lincoln Financial Sports[edit]

On November 30, 2007, Raycom purchased Lincoln Financial Sports and took over as syndicator for SEC football and basketball before losing the rights to ESPN Regional Television in 2009.[5][6] Raycom is the sole owner of the broadcast rights for ACC men's basketball and syndicated ACC football through 2010-2011.

Merger with Ellis Communications[edit]

In 1994, Raycom Sports merged with Ellis Communications, but remained autonomous, with its own headquarters in Charlotte. When an investment group led by Retirement Systems of Alabama bought Ellis in 1996, the Raycom name was so well respected that it chose to rename the entire broadcast group Raycom Media.

ACC Network[edit]

Main article: ACC Network

Starting in 2010, Raycom Sports has branded its ACC football and basketball games as the ACC Network.[7] In 2012 the ACC Network started showing College Hockey games mainly involving Boston College mainly because of them being the only ACC school with a hockey team. The ACC Network also started showing College Soccer, Baseball, Lacrosse and Volleyball too.


Announcers, hosts and reporters[edit]

College basketball[edit]

College football[edit]

College hockey[edit]

College baseball[edit]

Other programming[edit]

Raycom has also produced specials on Elvis Presley and other non-sports subjects. It was to have produced Team Racing Auto Circuit auto racing in 2003; however, the league folded before an event could be run.


Raycom Sports games are often part of the out-of-market sports packages ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court, which are available on ESPN3.