May 10, 2012

My plan to start the week was going to be a post on the ridiculousness of the “FSU and Clemson are going to bolt for the Big 12” rumors. Breaking down some of the origins. Pointing out how much of it was message board generated — and not even from FSU or Clemson sites. Noting that Oklahoma bloggers were dismissing it (and mocking a Hoopie to boot). Noting how most in ACC country weren’t buying it. The whole premise being based on TV money and football culture. The biggest problem, though, with the whole premise is that this is not a decision made by an AD or the athletic department as a whole. It is one made by the college president and board of trustees. It is a decision about the entire university, not where they play football. And the fact is, the ACC is a more prestigious and academically. That seems somewhat silly, I know, since so much of expansiopocolypse is all about the money. Yet there is one factor to consider.

All moves have an academic mobility component as well. The moves out of the Big 12 by Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas A&M had them going to conferences with higher overall academic ratings for the member schools. Same for WVU, Syracuse and Pitt out of the Big East. Same for the C-USA and MWC coming into the Big East. There is a factor of moving up in all things, not just athletic standards. A move from the ACC to the Big 12 is downward.

It would have been a much longer post. More links and a lot more coherence, but that was the planned gist. Then the Big East expelled Marinatto and the focus kind of shifted for a couple days. No big deal. Figured this could keep until today. Afterall, this was just a BS rumor.

Then, yesterday afternoon happened.

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced a long-term TV deal with ESPN Wednesday through the 2027 season that will mean a lucrative annual payout for Pitt once the Panthers leave the Big East.

The deal is worth $3.6 billion over 15 years according to The Associated Press which will equal some $17.1 million a season for member schools.

Yeah, this does a bit of a number on the whole Big 12 raiding the ACC thing.

Don’t worry, this won’t totally dispel the rumors. The Big 12 deal is more money overall, since they were able to go to the open market and the individual schools still can sell their Tier 3 TV rights (the ACC deal is all-encompassing). So the rumors won’t go away, particularly from wishful thinkers in the Big 12. But, nothing short of a grant of rights would do that for their conspiracy theories.

The ACC could not take their deal back to the open market, where it would have been significantly more. They were locked into their deal signed back in 2010 — just as the market really exploded. They were only allowed to reopen their deal with ESPN for renegotiations. That’s what they did, and with the addition of Pitt and Cuse, the yearly payout to the conference and members jumped from $155,000,000 to $240,000,000.

Wow. In each case, the conference gets a cut for its expenses. So the per-team jump isover $4 million (present deal paid ($12.9 million), even when you divvy it 14 ways rather than 12. So when Pitt reaches full-share status, it will receive $17.1 million/year.

Here’s the press release from ESPN.

ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) have announced an extension to their exclusive agreement through 2026-27 which will now feature several new elements designed to bring added value to ESPN and ACC fans, including more title sponsorship rights, more men’s regular-season and conference tournament basketball games, more conference football games, and dozens more Olympic sports competitions. The deal will provide premier content to numerous ESPN multimedia platforms, including ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2,, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN 3D, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and
Increased Inventory
The conference’s planned increase to an 18-game conference men’s basketball schedule and the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse will bring an increase of 30 conference men’s basketball games per year and two more conference tournament games. In football, 14 more conference-controlled games will be televised each year. Per the extension, ESPN has the right to televise three Friday ACC football contests annually which will include a standing commitment from Boston College and Syracuse to each host one game as well as an afternoon or evening game on Thanksgiving Friday. Also, more women’s basketball and dozens more Olympic sports competitions will be covered on ESPN platforms representing the conference’s 25, soon to be 26, sponsored sports.
Sponsorship and Enhancements
For the first time, ESPN has acquired title sponsorship rights, subject to conference approval, beyond football to all other conference championships including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, televised in its entirety on ESPN networks and its syndication partner Raycom, has never been sponsored in its 59-year history.
John Skipper, president, ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks, said, “This expansion and extension of our exclusive agreement brings tremendous value to our company and to ACC fans everywhere. We look forward to showcasing this premier conference across all platforms through 2027.”
“We are excited to have further enhanced our partnership with ESPN through the extension of our multimedia contract,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “We are proud that ESPN has invested so deeply in the ACC both from a resource and exposure standpoint. As we look to the future, this relationship will be tremendous for our schools, fans, coaches and student-athletes.”
ESPN has been televising ACC content since 1979 and has exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and Olympic sports matchups, and all ACC championship events. ACC content is distributed on the widest array of multi-media platforms in the sports industry. ACC on ESPN highlights:
  • Football on national TV: Extensive regular-season action on Saturday afternoon and nights, primetime Thursdays, three Fridays including Thanksgiving Friday, Labor Day Monday and the ACC Football Championship Game;
  • Men’s basketball on national TV: The most comprehensive coverage of regular-season games and the entire conference tournament produced and distributed via ESPN; regular-season matchups of the storied Duke-North Carolina rivalry each year; full national telecasts on all games televised on an ESPN platform; a weekly ACC Sunday Night Basketball franchise on ESPNU;
  • Women’s basketball: Numerous women’s regular-season basketball games and the entire conference tournament;
  • Olympic sports: An extensive commitment to the league’s soon to be 23-sponsored Olympic sports with regular-season and championship telecasts, highlighted by baseball, softball, lacrosse, and men’s and women’s soccer;
  • Digital media: Exclusive ACC football, men’s and women’s basketball, and Olympic sports games as well as simulcasts on ESPN3. Live ACC games, including football and basketball, on ESPN Mobile TV;
  • ESPN 3D: Select live ACC action on ESPN 3D;
  • Additional outlets: Select ACC action on ESPN International, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes; and extensive content rights for
About the Atlantic Coast Conference
The Atlantic Coast Conference is now in its 59th year of competition, the ACC has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. Since the league’s inception in 1953, ACC schools have captured 124 national championships, including 66 in women’s competition and 58 in men’s. In addition, NCAA individual titles have gone to ACC student-athletes 142 times in men’s competition and 101 times in women’s action. For more information, visit

The one non-money but of major importance, aspect about this deal: the ACC is now the most tied-to-ESPN conference. The ACC gave all rights to ESPN. That means ESPN has all the inventory. Every conference football game. Between 2 extra teams, 9 conference football games and 18 conference basketball games. The ACC will be a huge presence on ESPN (for good and ill). As Frank the Tank notes, this means that the ACC has an extra shield against any potential raid.

ESPN has zero incentive to see the ACC get raided.  None.  Nada.  Unlike its contracts with every other power conference, ESPN has complete top-to-bottom control of all ACC TV rights.  This means that ESPN has more of a vested interest in the survival of the ACC specifically over every other conference – it’s the one league that the people in Bristol aren’t sharing with Fox, CBS or the Big Ten Network.  In fact, think of it in these terms:

The ACC is the single largest content provider to all of the ESPN networks, whether college or pro.

Let that sink in for a moment.  The ACC provides more live content to ESPN than the NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12.  So, do you really think ESPN wants the ACC to lose anyone, much less actually enable another league (the Big 12) to poach Jim Swofford’s gang?  Is ESPN going to want to trade an entire slate of Florida State games that’s guaranteed annually in order to receive only a handful of tier 1 Seminole games that’s variable from year-to-year?

When Miami left the Big East in 2003, they turned down last-ditch efforts by the Big East to stay that included disproportionate revenue offerings that would have been greater than their share in the ACC. The key reason: stability. The money is good, but when things are roughly equal, stability is a deciding factor. This deal creates even greater stability for Pitt and the ACC.

This is not a grant of rights to Tier 1 and 2 media rights by the member schools to the Big 12 to lock in the schools. Something that was needed to quell fears of teams fleeing. Instead, it is protection and guarantees of exposure on the biggest force in sports media.

Thanks for clarifying everything Chas. Everything seems pretty reasonable. Th problem I have now is idk if Pitt just walked the plank or should be jumping for joy. We are now ESPN’s bitch. Regardless, things are looking up. For Pitt, I think PC will walk in and make at kwast ab 8 win team ou of us, setting up a 9 win team in the ACC our first year. Dixon has recruited really well for the pace of the ACC, and Pitt basketball will be back this year, setting up a conference title challenging team our first year in the ACC.

For our conference foes, I expect VT, Clemson, FSU, GT to be ranked in football. I see UVA, NCSU being on the cusp of the rankings. I also think UNC and Miami will be back in the future once they get past all the sanctions.

We could become a power conference just as easily as others of the Big 5.

Comment by Timmeh 05.10.12 @ 10:43 am

Whoa – The ACC is the single largest content provider to all of the ESPN networks, whether college or pro.

ESPN is Disney money.
That is a lot of money and a lot of investment.
Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Rieur1114 05.10.12 @ 11:07 am

So what you’re sayin is that if the SEC, Big 12 or B1G attempt to poach an ACC team, ESPN would step in and pony up more cash for the schools?

Comment by TX Panther 05.10.12 @ 11:08 am

Never say never TX Panther, but no one is concerned with Big 10 or SEC doing further expansion for a while. They don’t have any need or desire at this point.

The Big 10 doesn’t need to, and they can wait on what happens with Notre Dame in the next 5-10 years.

The SEC needs time to digest their new additions, and consider new media deals/situations. They have a look-in negotiation coming up with the new additions, and the potential for an SEC Network.

They really are not a possible threat to the ACC regarding raiding teams right now.

Comment by Chas 05.10.12 @ 11:26 am

What’s interesting in all of this, is that the Big East was pretty much ESPN’s baby. So when the Big East didn’t take the deal they offered, ESPN took two of it’s all sports teams, with the best basketball programs, to the ACC. It accomplishes two things, it bolsters ACC baskeball and weakens the Big East. For the ACC it’s a win win situation. They upgrade their basketball profile, which had diminished with the earlier football expansion, and it will give them a lot more exposure, as ESPN’s major collegiate sports provider. The ACC will make more money and ESPN gets a flagship conference that covers the eastern seaboard from Miami to Boston.

Comment by Justinian 05.10.12 @ 11:41 am

It think it also means the ACC cannot create an ACC cable network like the Big 10, PAC 12 and Texas. Did the ACC leave a lot of money on the table? I’m not sure.

Comment by Rayhpgh 05.10.12 @ 11:51 am

How much does Pitt currently receive from the BE per annum?

Comment by Pitt1969 05.10.12 @ 12:19 pm

The one aspect of Expansionollypse that this ACC contract may influence is in regard to Notre Dame. The ESPN “stability” partnership makes the ACC more appealling if/when ND decides to join a FB conference IMHO.

Comment by JW in Raleigh 05.10.12 @ 12:36 pm

This is a fantastic deal. Basically, the ACC just became the No. 1 product for the No. 1 brand in sports broacasting. We don’t need our own network showing games with one camera in the upper deck. The beauty is ESPN will now do ACC members bidding for them when it comes to conference expansion or depletion. I think that TX Panther is spot on in his comment…We are playing with the house’s money now.

Comment by HbgFrank 05.10.12 @ 12:48 pm

@Rayhpgh — I don’t think the ACC had much of a choice with the final dollar amount. ESPN was obligated to re-open negotiations, but that re-opening didn’t mean the ACC could go to NBC or Fox for leverage. ESPN still owned the rights according to the 2010 contract.

While ESPN did up the dollar figure significantly, the ACC did not have the leverage to go out and get PAC-12 money. However, there is a five year ‘look in’ clause. Every five years, both ESPN and the ACC can re-open the contract and decide if it should be adjusted based on circumstances (new ACC members, development of an ACC Network, etc).

I don’t like being tied so closely to the Disney Sports Network for so long. But I do think that the ACC came out of the renegotiation with about as much money as they could hope for.

Comment by lucabrasi 05.10.12 @ 1:20 pm

@Rayhpgh — Sorry for the second reply, I just re-read your comment and I missed something. As I alluded to in my original reply, there is an opportunity for the ACC & ESPN to consider the creation of an ACC Network when one of the five year windows comes along. So in five years, I would expect the ACC and ESPN to announce some sort of ACC network with a commensurate increase in revenues for the ACC.

Slightly off-topic: There is one thing to think about when it comes to ESPN. There is a small but growing community of people that are ‘cutting the cable cord’. They are no longer paying for cable service and instead are using the internet for entertainment purposes. Right now, I don’t think these people are having a major impact on ESPN or the other sports networks. But if the size of the cord cutters grows, you might see some impact on conference TV contracts in the future. Not next year, but five or ten years down the road.

Comment by lucabrasi 05.10.12 @ 1:27 pm

I’m glad to see the deal includes ACC games on, the former espn3. The ACC has not been a part of the platform, which I depend on when Pitt games aren’t on cable here in Jersey. Thanks as always for the breakdown, Chas.

Comment by Scott 78 05.10.12 @ 1:31 pm

Thanks Chas: Can’t wait for the ACC football/basketball action-Thank God we will be in a stable conference. Can you imagine what we would all be saying if we were on the outside looking in(i.e UCONN, Rutgers,etc.)!! Hail to Pitt

Comment by Bruce F 05.10.12 @ 2:37 pm

Great Deal Hail To Pitt

Comment by 63Team 05.10.12 @ 2:45 pm

Pitt got so lucky. The ACC wanted UConn instead but thank God BC bitched enough

Comment by Tony C 05.10.12 @ 2:57 pm

HbgFrank – did you mean the house’s money or the mouse’s money?

Comment by Pitt Dad 05.10.12 @ 3:21 pm

I’m with Tony C….thank goodness for BC blocking UConn….I’d be on suicide watch right now if Pitt was stuck in the Big East…

Comment by CJK 05.10.12 @ 4:12 pm

FSU and Clemson are probably thinking this contract is Goofy with no tier 3 rights and only $17M per school. FSU is operating about $2M in the red so this extra $4M per school should help but it’s probably not a figure that will keep them long term. Tobacco Road has too much influence. It’s still a basketball first conference much like the Big East except the Carolina schools are the Catholics. I’d still rather be in the ACC BUT this conference isn’t stable until FSU is happy and Notre Dame joins. It’s the 5th best conference…just a step up from the Big Least. Again, better conference for Pitt academically and $12 million more reasons to like, but I can see how football focused schools who feel slighted by the Carolina schools may want to keep their options open.

Comment by TX Panther 05.10.12 @ 4:23 pm

Chas read the article on big lead sports then tell me if you still fell the way you do.
the ACC will make less money per team than any outher except the big east and when they do the new tv deal we will be last every one else will be over 20 mllion some very mutch over.
so except for being stable how is this good for us the larger people like the big 12 can raid the acc and offer more money than the acc can to keep them read the post bye big lead sports.

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 4:52 pm

FSU has to be very mad all the outhers are geting 21 or 22 million even the big east in there new deal when it comes up will get more than 17 million
the SEC gets allmost 17 million now and are do foe a new deal you can bet it will be well over 21 million we will be dead last in tv money how can you fill good abought that.

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 5:01 pm

I do have to say, I am sick of Pitt getting blasted on these outside message boards where some of these links go to. Check out Cardiac Hill’s “Louisville wants out of the Bg East” post and the link in that one. Whew

Comment by Timmeh 05.10.12 @ 5:13 pm

lets say the sec or big 12 says to FSU will give you 5 millonmore than you are geting in the acc
espn is not going to give FSU 5 millon more per year and leave every one else at 17 million
and if you think they are going to give 14 schools in the acc 5 million more per team every year if it happened next year forget it they wont do it if a team wants to leave espn wont pony up
and at 17 million a year the lowest tv money per team it might happen.

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 6:31 pm

A couple of years ago when the Pitt Panthers had completed a strong football season, yes the year they lost the heart-breaker to Cincinatti, I was hoping they would get an invitationto join the Big 10. When it became apparent that the Big 10 wasn’t interested, the ACC became the best option. The positives of the ACC are many, being in the ACC, the Panthers should still be able to recruit from the east, and although it’s a step up, they should have a better chance of success in football in the ACC than they would have in the Big Ten. What I also find interesting, is that new Penn State coach O’Brian commented they he would welcome playing Pitt every year with-out pre-conditions, in an alternating home and home arrangement.

Comment by Justinian 05.10.12 @ 6:49 pm

What is the ACC buyout for FSU and Clemson? I thought i heard that was increased significantly when we joined.

Plus every school has to factor in increased travel costs for all the other sports. I am betting that got expensive for WVU

Comment by giveitarest 05.10.12 @ 7:15 pm

Frankcan–Your theory has been discussed at length on the lair and on scout and pretty much debunked for at least two or three reasons–

1. B12 team travel costs (including non-revenue sports) would exceed ACC costs by $2-3 million making the ACC deal closer to the equivalent of between $19-$20 million from the Big 12.

2. Money is not FSU’s only concern. They are a better academic fit in the more academically snobby ACC and their academic folks greatly prefer being in the ACC.

3. As has been mentioned, ESPN could be expected to raise the per team anti if needed to prevent defections. They would not need, as you suggest, to up it by $5 million/team/year to prevent a defection–probably about $2 million or so would do the trick given both the travel costs differential and the wishes of the academic types at the school.

Comment by pitt1972 05.10.12 @ 7:21 pm

Frankcan–Oh, and also, the schizophrenic and unstable nature of the B12 (given the Texas-Oklahoma-OK State go rounds) will also deter any thought of going to the B12 because it could be a case of “out of the frying pan into the fire.”

Comment by pitt1972 05.10.12 @ 7:31 pm

But not the sec and travel cost would be no worse for them as it is now. except A&M.
I am just saying that to think FSU wont leave for 5 milliomn more per year is wrong they might and espn wont pony up 5 million and when the sec gets its new tv deal they might make 5 million more per year than the acc . it bothers no one that the acc makes less money off its tv rights than all the rest of the magor conferences we are low man at 17 million and you think the acc cant get raided i think we can . wish we had a 20 million contract than i would fell safe but money talks did you read the article that i posted read it then tell me i am wrong and i will say ok.

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 7:52 pm

Tier 3 rights and an ACC all sports conference would make me sleep better at night. 17 million was on the low end of the range. Exposure over money. What will exposure get you? Maybe the Presidents are thinking exposure gets you better coverage and that translates into greater alumni and booster contributions and maybe just maybe it becomes easier to recruit. Don’t sell me the bull on academics with Florida State. If it was so important, why haven’t they significantly improved their standing in the last ten years? Football is everthing to that school. Academics are just lip service. Their best fit is the SEC but Florida won’t allow it. FSU had a chance to dominate the ACC and increase the TV payout but has blown it much like Pitt. The Big 12 is a Plains conference and isn’t southern and Texas is the only school that is good academically but there are over 25 millions reasons to like that conference despite having to drive into Morganhole each year. When the refs cheat Pitt out of a win at North Carolina, we’ll know what it feels like to be the Tarheel’s bitch. I’m just looking at it from a different perspective. Don’t get me wrong, the ACC is a good fit for Pitt but the Seminoles…not so much these days. Who will replace them when they leave? I say the ACC needs to get proactive again or have a plan in place to prevent the inevitable poaching. These private Carolina schools have too much influence in the ACC. The ACC bent over and ESPN raped them. The overall contract is still undervalued and the conference underappreciated. Sounds like Big Least 2.0 to me.

Comment by TX Panther 05.10.12 @ 9:50 pm

TX PANTHER thank you at last some commen sence
if you read my 4 post above youwill see i have said the same thing we make less money than any of the outhers per school and the acc can have teams jump for more money.
it was a bad deal any thing less than 20 million is a bad deal and that would have just brought us to what the outhers are makeing now when they get there new deal like the sec will will be very far behind the rest you are right the acc got raped i cant belive chas cant see that.

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 10:04 pm

JUST becuse pitt will make more money does not mean the acc made a good deal and if the schools in your conference make less than schools in a outher conference you open your self up to lose teams to say the sec if they want you
and the sec is all most at 17 million now there new contract whish is comeing up will pay them 22 or 23 million per team i bet it is that high and i am sure fsu would jump for that kind of money so every thing is not peachs and cream.
unless you are blind

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 10:19 pm

DAN EMel get in on this Wbb were are you you and i dont all ways agree but you are very smart
and i dont belive you think this is a great deal like chas does we are to open to be picked off bye outhers who are makeing more money like the sec will be soon

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 10:36 pm

I wonder if the ACC commish will get fired for getting such a crappy deal.

Comment by Chris 05.10.12 @ 10:53 pm

Thank you for your last comment Justinian…it’s what the kids are calling tops on!

Comment by Gordo 05.10.12 @ 11:26 pm

i dont think so chris but if you knew what the outher 4 conferences got i dont think you would think it was so great
try looking up what the outhers have and you woud see that out of the 5 magor conferences we have the worst deal so if we are lowest of the five would you say that is a good deal . would you think it was good to make less money at your work then every one else. i bet not

Comment by Frankcan 05.10.12 @ 11:26 pm


Chas covered the issues with the ACC contract. They were bound by the fact that they couldn’t shop to other networks, but only renegotiate their deal with ESPN. They also aren’t on par with the SEC or B1G in football so they aren’t going to get that kind of money. Adding Pitt and Syracuse increased the money per school over 4 million. Do you really think Pitt and Syracuse add that much (or much of anything currently) to the ACC’s football profile?

Furthermore, if the SEC ends up with 5 million per team more (which based on recent performance, they deserve) and there is a buyout in the ACC of 25 million (which is what I think they voted to raise it to in the fall), then how is it economically better for a team like FSU to leave? It would take 5 years to break even, and by then the ACC would be due for their first “look in” on their contract.

Plus it was mentioned that the deal in the Big 12 also offsets higher traveling costs because of adding WVU (and if they end up with BYU). Not to mention that the Big 12 is a better football conference than the ACC just with Texas, OU, and OK St.

Also, the SEC will be making more money, but that doesn’t mean they will be looking to expand further. One thing is certain, the SEC will survive all this expansion. They don’t need to go after any more schools, especially when they might dilute what is currently a great product.

Comment by kanyon40 05.11.12 @ 1:57 am

Money aside, I’m just hoping Dickie V develops a chronic throat problem (actually my first thoughts were of a more permanent nature but what ever it takes to get him to retire).

Comment by jsc 05.11.12 @ 6:30 am

Breakeven is more like 2 years. FSU buyout is 20 Million. They are getting 17M today and save 2M in travel expense so that’s 19M. The Big 12 with FSU and Clemson is worth 25M plus tier 3 rights which conservatively is 5M for FSU. That’s 30M.

Unless the extra exposure is worth 11M per year, FSU should cry rape. Again, how are the Presidents calculating exposure revenue? How does one put a tangible number on that?

Good deal for Pitt monetarilly but don’t go thinking this conference is stable unless you are a fool or a tool.

Comment by TX Panther 05.11.12 @ 6:54 am

You guys know that the Tier 3 rights that ESPN now has is just for televison?

North Carolina is still going to make $11 million off their radio.

The schools that can make money off Tier 3 still will.

Comment by originalether 05.11.12 @ 8:44 am

Per the Tribune Review Pitt’s TV revenue’s will be 4X what it got from the BE. Has it realy given up any other BE revenue that would offset that gain?

Comment by pitt1972 05.11.12 @ 8:56 am

I just heard a rumor from a reliable source that every team in a major football conference is leaving for another conference. The major conferences will then be renamed. The net result will be that the exact same teams will end up back together in the same conferences.

The Big 12 becomes the Big East. All Big East teams move to the Big 12 and rename the conference the Big East… and so on… more to come

Comment by Coach Ditka 05.11.12 @ 9:10 am

I find it hilarious that people are worried about FSU and Clemson. Even if they do leave for the Big 12 (they won’t, because it would be crazy to go to that dysfunctional conference), there are about 10 quality universities that would stand in line to join the ACC. Rutgers is a high quality university that would be accepted by ACC immediately. BC would probably cave in on UConn. Louisville doesn’t rate as high academically, but in a pinch, they would gladly join the ACC.

But that won’t happen. University Presidents aren’t looking for dysfunction. They want stability. The amount of short-term money available at Big 12 will disappear in a cloud of smoke once the dysfunction in Austin hits a boiling point.

Beyond the Austin dysfunction, both FSU and Clemson know that there is a legitimate chance that Notre Dame will join the ACC. Notre Dame is rumored to earn $15 Mill a year under the current contract with NBC. NBC might like having the content, but is the price worth it? That $15 million pays for only 24 to 30 hours of live (and low-rated) programming a year. NBC’s new overlords at Comcast may not want to pay that kind of money.

At the same time, the Big East covers ND for the non-revenue sports. If the Big East splits, the revenue for the BE basketball schools will drop significantly. ND will then be looking for a home. (On the other hand, NBC might be willing to pay both ND & the Big East quite a bit of money in the next contract. NBC does have a sports network that requires content).

I believe the ND/NBC Contract is up after 2013 or 2014. At that point, I think there is a 25% chance that ND might be forced to join the ACC. Of course, that is just my opinion and a SWAG. But while the ND option is out there, FSU and Clemson aren’t moving anywhere.

Comment by lucabrasi 05.11.12 @ 9:21 am

I’m not laughing. And, you should be at least slightly concerned about FSU. Their big time boosters are voicing their displeasure to the President and trustees rest assured.

Comment by TX Panther 05.11.12 @ 9:38 am

ESPN is the Sonny Vaccarro of sport brokering. Sonny built relationships through his tennis shoe operations at nike and brokered deals all over the place to get coaches in at certain universities.

ESPN is acting in the same manner, as a broker. What does the BIG12 get if they poach from the ACC, bottom billing on Sportscenter. If you don’t think that type of brokering doesn’t occur, think back a couple of years to when espn received a contract for televising NBA games. Did anyone notice the lead stories were about the NBA for the longest time. It all ties together from a business perspective and to think that the other conferences are not aware of their slots during an ESPN broadcast is just short sighted. Where else do the kids go to watch sports? ESPN. Those are subtle programming points that shouldn’t be lost during any negotiations.

As far as FSU and Clemson leaving, it shouldn’t happen. FSU has been down for years and are slowly making a comeback. You don’t jump to a different league unless you are the big fish of the conference you are leaving. Why? The first reason is simple, if you can’t win ACC conference championships consistently, do you really think you will win SEC and Big12 championships. Hell to the NO. Your program will linger in mediocrity for years and you will lose relevance. Secondly, have we ever seen an example of when a college left their conference for greener pastures and after it didn’t work out, returned to their original conference? That is powerful and it doesn’t happen. Cut your ties and live with the results can be damning.

I enjoy outside the box thinking fellas and appreciate all your input.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.11.12 @ 10:02 am

DHuffDaddy is right: ESPN is the biggest player in sports presentation, period. Their numbers across the internet, broadcast, their broadcast partnership with ABC Sports, and (much smaller) print publications, we’re in quite a nice spot, exposure-wise and money aside for the next few years.

Think of all your major cable providers in the US- Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision- ALL of them carry ESPN and their second & third tier affiliates. I don’t know about you guys, but the Pac 10 & Big 10 (whatever) had to strike deals with NYC’s YES and MSG Networks to get their games shown here- in the US’ biggest media market. They do not have an ownership stake for broadcast deal here.

When the Olympics is going on this summer, notice how ESPN will cover the event vs. baseball, the WNBA, and soccer. It will cover the NBA players in London, and that will be about it. The Olympics will get lip service on SportsCenter, but they’ll fill the hour with August baseball filler & NFL preseason coverage.

That’s the power of content partnerships: you might laugh at the ACC & Pitt being filler for the network, but I would assume that a good amount of people default to ESPN and their properties for college sports coverage. It is now in ESPN’s interest to build stories around the ACC.

So as other conferences build their own networks (taking into consideration infrastructure & operation costs, never mind broadcast deals) I’m happy that Pitt & the ACC will be co-oping ESPN’s media platforms and their exposure.

Comment by Rieur1114 05.11.12 @ 10:49 am

Exposure = How much in $$$’s?

If Exposure $ is < [$30M – $17M], FSU has a problem.

As long as FSU isn't sold on exposure, the ACC Stable.

Comment by TX Panther 05.11.12 @ 10:54 am

ACC NOT Stable.

We know what wandering eyes gets you.

Comment by TX Panther 05.11.12 @ 10:55 am

@TX, if you read Chas’ latest post, sounds like FSU has bigger problems than the amount of cash they are getting.

Sounds like poor management, poor marketing, poor accounting, poor a lot of stuff, that just shuffling conferences and getting some more money isn’t going to fix anytime soon.

Comment by Dan 05.11.12 @ 11:46 am

[…] Something amazing has happened in the last week. Whether it is part of a fundamental change in college athletics, or a response driven by self-interest I am stunned and thrilled. No, I’m not talking about the playoff plans for college football. I’m talking about the discussion of the revised ACC contract. […]

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