Expanding ACC To Get New Deal From ESPN

MoneyIn what might be the quickest renegotiating in college football history, just weeks into a new TV deal with ESPN, the ACC is getting a mulligan.

After adding Big East Conference schools Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the ACC will reopen its 12-year, $1.86 billion deal with ESPN. ACC Commissioner John Swofford told SportsBusiness Journal. The ACC signed that media agreement in May 2010, but subsequent rights-fee deals signed by the Big 12 and Pac-12 were considerably richer than the ACC’s.

“The marketplace certainly has changed since we did our deal,” Swofford said.

The ACC’s contract with ESPN, which is valued at $155 million a year, contains a standard line called a “composition clause” that allows either the conference or ESPN to reopen the deal if membership increases or decreases by at least two schools. The conference or the network can act on that clause any time the conference’s membership changes by at least two schools.

When asked if he anticipates the ACC’s per-school revenue of $12.9 million a year to increase from the current deal, Swofford said,

“The simple answer is yes. We expect to do better than our schools staying even.”

In a statement sent to SportsBusiness Journal, ESPN said:

“Conversations continue with our conference partners regarding conference composition clauses in our existing contracts. We are looking forward to discussions with the ACC.”

The ACC-ESPN deal that went into effect this season pays about $4 million in new media revenue for each existing ACC school. Three percent escalators are built in annually.

The TV money is of course the reason that conferences like the Big East and Big 12 are dying and why we are seeing a growth in the so-called super conferences. Under the new ACC TV contract, Swofford says that ACC schols will make about $12.9m per year. By comparison, Penn State and the rest of the Big Ten members are set to receive $22.6 million from the Big Ten this year. That is an incredible difference in revenue between schools in two difference conferences.

College Television Deals Through The Years

Big Ten $1 billion/10 years 2007-08 through 2016-17 ESPN/ABC June 2006
NA*/6 years 2011-12 through 2016-17 CBS June 2011
$2.8 billion/25 years 2007-08 through 2031-32 Big Ten Network August 2006
Big East $200 million/6 years 2007-08 through 2012-13 ESPN/ABC August 2006
SEC $2.25 billion/15 years 2009-10 through 2023-24 ESPN/ABC August 2008
$825 million/15 years 2009-10 through 2023-24 CBS CollegeSports August 2008
ACC $1.86 billion/12 years 2011-12 through 2022-23 ESPN/ABC May 2010
Big 12 $1.17 billion/13 years 2012-13 through 2025-26 Fox March 2011
$480 million/8 years 2008-09 through 2015-16 ESPN/ABC April 2007
$78 million/4 years 2008-09 through 2011-12 FSN April 2007
Pac-12 $3 billion/12 years 2011-12 through 2022-23 ESPN and Fox May 2011

NA: Not available
* Before an extension in June as a result of the addition of Nebraska, the original deal signed in June 2006 was $200 million over 10 years, from 2006-07 through 2015-16.
Sources: Conference Form 990s filed with the IRS; conference officials.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Images_of_Money


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