- ACC's new ESPN contract more than doubles each school's share of revenue
- Each school should get $13 million a year.
- That money would cover 20 percent of the budget at Virginia Tech, U.Va.
ESPN's retention of ACC football and basketball games may seem like more of the same to fans of league schools such as Virginia and Virginia Tech.
More of Brad Nessler's crisp play-by-play. More of Jay Bilas' cogent analysis. More of Dick Vitale's well-intentioned but over-the-top cheerleading.
But that's not all. Not even close.
First reported Monday by the Sports Business Journal's John Ourand and Michael Smith, the ACC's new contract with ESPN more than doubles each school's share of television revenue. The windfall still pales to the bank heists pulled by the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference in recent years, but given the lean economy, ACC commissioner John Swofford and his negotiating team merit a standing O.
Expect your favorite ACC school to sign top-shelf recruits and coaches? Demand that they work in opulence fit for royalty?
Then a deal such as this was paramount.
The ACC-ESPN agreement is worth approximately $155 million annually for 12 years, according to the Sports Business Journal. Since the conference wisely divides television monies equally, that figures to $13 million a year for each of the 12 members.
The current contract, which expires in 2011, provides each ACC school about $5.05 million. Just your basic 157-percent increase, courtesy of a bidding war between ESPN and Fox Sports.
To place in context: For the 2008-09 academic year, Virginia Tech's athletic department reported expenses of $50.8 million, Virginia's $63.7 million.
So for both schools, ACC television revenue could cover at least 20 percent of the budget.
Granted, budget numbers can seem dense, meaningless and confusing. It's like hearing a political consultant parse demographics or a NASCAR crew chief wax rhapsodic about downforce.
Consider, then, some tangible items.
Virginia's Brian O'Connor is among the nation's top college baseball coaches, witness the Cavaliers' 2009 College World Series appearance and No. 1 ranking this season. The best way to keep O'Connor from entertaining the inevitable overtures from rivals is to continue upgrading his salary and the program's facilities.
Virginia Tech's basketball programs last season opened a $21-million practice complex that Ty Pennington couldn't improve. The Hokies' current construction project is new digs for the cash cow football program — William and Mary's assistant coaches have bigger and better offices than Virginia Tech's.
None of these upgrades happen without generous benefactors and lucrative television deals.
Don't misunderstand. The ACC shouldn't change its address to Easy Street. With Big Ten schools raking in a reported $22 million annually from TV, and SEC members at $17.1 million, the competition is fierce, especially in bellwether football.
The Bowl Championship Series is one way to measure the gap. In the BCS' 12 years, Big Ten teams have received nine at-large bids, the SEC seven, the ACC none.
Those bids, by the way, were worth $4.5 million last season.
With Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson boasting top-10 potential, that could well change in 2010.
But the most important change will occur in 2011 when the bigger checks from ESPN arrive.
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime
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