Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Closer: Is the ACC the next major conference to have it's own TV channel?

Yesterday, it was announced that the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) had financially locked in all of its current and future schools. The conference did this through a vote to approve the grant of media rights for the entire conference. This effectively stops any schools from leaving the conference during the entirety of the contract, which runs through the 2026-27 year.

This is a great move for the presidents of the ACC schools during a time when schools are changing conferences so often. With the signature of all of the schools, their media rights have been given up for the next 14 years, meaning that even if they change conferences, all of their media dollars will have to go through the ACC.

Once that ACC sells it's media rights, it will be the 4th of the power five conferences to do so, leaving just the Southeastern Conference (SEC) without a media rights deal. This opportunity to sell their media rights for the next 14 years will make the ACC more attractive to any schools looking to move out of mid-level conferences into the "power 5". Currently, the ACC has a TV deal with ESPN that grants ACC schools $17m per year; this will increase to nearly $20m a year with the addition of Notre Dame.

Also, last year the ACC voted to bump it's exit fee from $20m to $52m, making it nearly impossible to leave the conference, monetarily. Not only do the ACC presidents want to attract other schools if they decide to grow, they want to guarantee that they don't lose their largest schools to conferences like the Big 10, that has recently shown interest in growing to 16 schools.

"It is one of the great days in the history of our conference as it shows the highest level of commitment -- not by words, but by actions," Coach Mike Krzyzewski, of Duke, said in a statement. This is a big deal for the ACC and college sports, alike. The ACC would be the first basketball-centered conference with rising football teams to have a big-time media deal. The Big 10, Big 12, and PAC-10 are all rooted in football history, whereas the ACC lacks consistency for football across the entire conference.

It will be interesting to follow what happens next with the ACC and if this agreement marks the end of and continues to halt the exodus from the conference. The money that a new media rights deal will bring to the schools will help the schools in many ways. The schools will most likely use the funds to continue to boost their football programs, in hopes that they can get the consistency and continuity of conferences like the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12.

Watch out for ACC football in 2017!


Kevin Murray is a sophomore Sport Management Major at Drexel University. He is originally from Havertown, PA, a small suburb of Philadelphia. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  Currently, Kevin is the SMTSU Treasurer and Drexel Athletics Marketing Intern.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

Connect with Kevin Murray on LinkedIn.

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