Stewart Mandel posted a good article on the new ACC TV deal that resulted in a hard date for the ACC Network. What was clarified for the first time is how ESPN is going to generate money and guarantee carriage in a time when these types of networks are under fire. ESPN/Disney timed the launch of the ACC Network so that it coincides with the renewal of all the ESPN Networks. ESPN and the ACC will bundle the new network with the other ESPN Channels in an all or nothing proposal. If your cable company wants ESPN, they are going to need to carry the ACC Network.
Mandel also explains that basketball was a much bigger driver of the network than previously believed. All those Duke-UNC games plus the other second level powers will carry the network during the winter months.
I still have doubts that Notre Dame will ever give up football independence but they are the final piece in the puzzle. If the new playoff forced them into a conference, it will be the ACC. And if/when that happens, that gives the ACC one more trigger to juice the TV deal.