So while the ACC-ESPN agreement starts at about $14 million per school, the source said, it concludes at about $24 million per school.
Cause for alarm? Hardly.
The contract “further strengthens the position of the ACC and each of our institutions in the college athletic landscape at a critical time,” Spetman said in a statement last week. “The additional revenue for each school will be significant as is the exposure for all our sports across the board.”
* Since football drives 70-80 percent of media rights fees, and since ACC football has, to be kind, struggled on the national stage of late, it should shock absolutely no one that the Big Ten, Pacific 12, Big 12 and shortly the Southeastern Conference will make more than the ACC.
Is that a competitive disadvantage? To a degree, of course. But if sports were as simple as Monopoly, the Yankees or Red Sox would win the American League pennant every year.
The ACC has more than tripled its media revenue in the last five years from approximately $5 million per year to each school to just over $17 million. Plus, to put into context the 30-percent increase in media income the ACC generated by adding Pitt and Syracuse: The NCAA’s new basketball tournament deal with CBS and Turner raised rights fees 41 percent.
Given its sub-par national football standing – ACC teams are 2-13 in Bowl Championship Series games – Swofford and his negotiating team did well to squeeze ESPN for as much as they did.
And if I’m Swofford, I tell member schools that in no uncertain terms: You want more money? Win more games.
In fact, the ESPN contract allows for “look-ins” at Years 5 and 10 to adjust revenue based on performance and/or technology changes. The deal also would be revisited were ACC membership to change – read: if Notre Dame came aboard.
* In short, the ACC’s new television arrangement should stabilize the league rather than create unrest, which should soothe frayed nerves among Virginia and Virginia Tech fans, who don’t want to be scrambling if the ACC fragments.
Since the ACC’s 1953 founding, only South Carolina, in 1971, has departed. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.
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