ACC Inks Lucrative TV Deal with ESPN

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The ACC has reportedly reached a new contract with ESPN to televise football
and men’s basketball games. The deal is said to be worth $155 million per year,
which is a big increase over the current television contract.

When the ACC expanded in 2003, the league signed television contracts worth
$67 million per year for football and basketball. Despite the recent worry that
the negotiations would go poorly for the ACC, the new contract is a substantial
increase over the old one. The new contract will begin in the 2011-12 season.

The new contract is also very respectable on a national level.

Annual
Conference TV Numbers
Conference Total Per
School

Big Ten

$242 mil

$22 mil

SEC

$205 mil

$17.08 mil

ACC

$155 mil

$12.9 mil

Big 12

$78 mil

$6.5 mil

Pac-10

$58 mil

$5.8 mil

Big East

$33 mil

$2.8 mil

The Big Ten leads the way, thanks to the Big Ten Network. The SEC is close
behind. The ACC is currently in a respectable third place. TV contracts for the
Big 12 and Pac-10 are up for renewal in 2012, so the ACC’s new deal is a good
sign for those leagues.

Originally, the estimate for the ACC’s new contract was $120 million.
However, ESPN got into a bidding war with Fox, and that eventually drove the
price up an extra $35 million per year. Both networks had representatives at the
annual ACC meetings at Amelia Island, FL last week.

The Fox team was led by Fox Sports President Ed Goren, Fox Sports Networks
President Randy Freer, as well as Chase Carey, the COO of News Corp., which is
the parent network of Fox. Had they won the bidding war, there would have been
an ACC Game of the Week each week on Fox Sports, as well as other games on FX
and FSN.

ESPN sent executive vice presidents John Skipper and John Wildhack, as well
as their senior vice president of college sports, Burke Magnus. In the end,
Skipper, Wildhack and Magnus won out.

The ACC’s new contract will run through the 2022-23 season. ESPN now owns the
exclusive rights to all ACC football and basketball games. If Raycom wants to
show an ACC football or basketball game, or FSN wants to continue to show ACC
Sunday Night Hoops, they must purchase the games from ESPN.

As of now, it’s expected that Raycom will continue to show games, but that
FSN will no longer be showing Sunday Night Hoops.

How does this affect Virginia Tech? Quite simply, it will mean more money for
the athletics department. Each school in the ACC, including Tech, was making
$5.58 million per year from television revenue. With the new contract, that
number will go up to $12.9 million per year. That’s more than double what the
Hokies were getting under the old contract.

The new contract will help the ACC stay in the same ballpark with the heavy
hitters of college athletics, the Big Ten and SEC. It also provides better
incentive for ACC schools to not bolt for another league should the rumored
conference realignment take place.

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