SEC, ACC & ESPN Announce Men’s And Women’s Basketball Challenges Starting In 2023

The Southeastern Conference (SEC), Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and ESPN have announced the formation of the ACC/SEC Challenge for men’s and women’s basketball. It will begin as part of the 2023-24 season.

ACC and SEC teams will square off as part of the new annual challenge–one in men’s basketball and one in women’s basketball. Each one of the 28 games (30 starting in 2025-26) will be carried on an ESPN platform, and each conference will host an equal number of home games. Matchups and game times will be announced at a later date.

This new format will allow fans to see NCAA Tournament style games with SEC teams, such as Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina and Auburn, face the likes of Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Syracuse.

“We are excited women’s and men’s basketball student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete with their colleagues from the ACC as we initiate a new Basketball Challenge experience,” says SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “I appreciate the collaboration of Jim Phillips and the ACC members, along with our broadcast partner ESPN, to make possible the SEC/ACC Basketball Challenge which will provide our fans with exciting basketball early in the 2023-24 season. I also thank the Big 12 for the many great challenge games we experienced together in past years.”

For SEC men’s basketball, the onset of the challenge with the ACC brings an end to a challenge with the Big 12 which began in the 2013-14 season. The 10th SEC-Big 12 Challenge will take place Jan. 28, 2023. SEC women’s basketball conducted a challenge with the Big 12 from 2014 to 2021.

“The future ACC-SEC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Challenges will be outstanding events for our student-athletes, member institutions and fans,” says ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “The SEC, led by Greg Sankey, and our partners at ESPN have been terrific, and there’s great excitement for the first annual ACC/SEC Challenge next season. As part of this announcement, we’d like to acknowledge the Big Ten for its partnership on the ACC/B1G Challenge that spanned more than 20 years.”

The creation of the ACC/SEC Challenge marks the end of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which ESPN established with the two conferences in 1999 as a first-of-its-kind event. The final installment of the 23-year-old event, and the 15th edition of the ACC/Big Ten Women’s Challenge, will take place this week.

“We look forward to showcasing the talented men’s and women’s programs throughout the ACC and SEC in the years ahead through this exciting new collaboration with both conferences,” says Nick Dawson, ESPN Vice President, Programming. “Since establishing the very first interconference challenge in 1999, these events have been a staple of our college basketball schedule for more than two decades. We thank both the Big Ten and Big 12 for their partnership in the final year of our existing events and look forward to finding more ways to creatively partner with both conferences in 2023-24 and beyond.”

Steven Boero