Virginia Tech approves $10 million project for ACC Network launch

Plans call for two new control rooms with audio and replay suites

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors on Wednesday approved plans for $10 million in technology upgrades for equipment and infrastructure in anticipation of the ACC Network launching in 2019.

The funds will go toward the development of two identical network control rooms in the Shott Media Center in the south end zone of Lane Stadium that will have audio, replay, engineering, shading and editing suites. 

The rooms will allow the athletic department’s video staff, HokieVision, to simultaneously produce live Virginia Tech sporting events for the ESPN family of networks, which will include the ACC Network that will launch in the fall of 2019. 

When the ACC Network launches, it is anticipated that the number of student workers employed by HokieVision will grow from 20 to 100. 

“This announcement represents a game-changing event for Virginia Tech Athletics,” Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said in a release. “We are grateful to the Board of Visitors and President [Timothy] Sands for their willingness to undertake this partnership that will not only showcase the many great attributes of Virginia Tech and our athletics programs, but will also provide invaluable experience to Tech students who aspire to pursue career opportunities in the broadcasting field.”

A second location on the first floor of Lane Stadium’s west side that currently houses a memorabilia area will be transformed into several additional studios, as well as another control room and audio suite.

This location will be dedicated to exclusive HokieVision productions for, in-venue videoboard features, special shows and announcements such as Signing Day Live, in addition to future collaborative efforts with IMG and the Virginia Tech Department of Communications, a unit of the Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Another key component of this project is the connection of fiber optic cable from Tech’s athletics competition facilities back to HokieVision’s central production hub and studios. 

Two former Virginia Tech students already have accepted full-time positions, as HokieVision continues its preparations for the ACC Network to become fully operational. Eric Frey will serve as senior director of ACC Network productions beginning in April.

A 2007 Virginia Tech graduate school alum, Frey will oversee all facets of Virginia Tech's ACC Network expansion and operations. He returns to HokieVision after serving in the video production field at four different Power 5 schools over the past 12 years. Most recently, he oversaw SEC Network productions at the University of Arkansas. 

Sam Jones was promoted to the position of chief broadcast engineer earlier this year. He is working closely with Brian Walls (senior director, broadcast operations) and Scott Bradshaw (associate director, engineering) to ensure that Virginia Tech is up to linear broadcast standards before August 2019. 

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.