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Raycom Sports
Type Private
Founded 1979
Headquarters Montgomery, Alabama
Area served Flag of the United States.svg United States (Nationwide)
Key people Ken Haines
(President & CEO
Industry Sports Broadcast Television
Sales & Marketing
Event Management
Products ACC Basketball
ACC Football
ACC Properties
Meineke Car Care Bowl, etc.
Owner(s) Raycom Media

Raycom Sports is an American syndicator of sports television programs. It is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, and owned and operated by Raycom Media.

It was founded in 1979 by a husband and wife, Rick and Dee Ray. Since its inception, it has produced and distributed football and basketball games from the Atlantic Coast Conference. (It was also once a distributor of games from the Big Ten Conference, 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.

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 two companies formed a joint venture, Raycom/JP Sports. In 2006, the name of the 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.

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.

From 1983 to 1986, Raycom and JP offered a pay-per-view package called "Season Ticket."

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

During each ACC basketball season, the Raycom/LF affiliates have exclusive rights to the game telecasts. ESPN, which buys outer market rights from R/LF, must black out the games in the same markets as the affiliates.

Some of Raycom's current and former announcers include Mike Patrick, Tim Brando, Tom Hammond, Billy Packer, Doc Walker, Tim Brant, Mike Gminski, Mike Hogewood and Bucky Waters.

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.

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.

On November 30, 2007, Raycom purchased LFS and became the syndicator of the SEC telecasts through this past season. Raycom is the sole owner of the broadcast rights for ACC men's baksetball and syndicated ACC football through 2010-2011.

Raycom Sports also owns and operates the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.

Raycom Sports games are often part of the Out-of-market sports packages ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court.



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