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September 13, 2012

More ACC Thoughts

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Expansiopocolypse — Chas @ 8:22 am

Yesterday got totally disrupted with the Notre Dame-ACC news. I just have one (or two) final thoughts for now on the deal. Then, I swear I’ll get back to the stuff regarding the VT game. Really. I mean it.

I’m surprised it took place this quickly. For the ACC there was no real urgency to do this. It seems that the ACC could have waited a year or two to let ND twist in the new Big East. It wouldn’t have resulted in full membership, but they probably could have had ND playing 6 games against the ACC rather than 5.

The exception to that thought would be if getting the ND deal done was the only way to make sure the ACC could pass the new exit fee structure. That was really the bigger deal and puts the ACC on the Big 12 level stability with such painful exit fees that it becomes almost impossible to leave.

Contrary to original reports, the new exit fee — which is three times the annual television revenue for a school — was not unanimously approved.

“President Barron voted against it. I personally think that $50 million is punitive. I’m not sure that holds up,” said Bense, who was named the chairman of the Board of Trustees for a two-year term in June. Bense also said that Maryland voted against the increased buyout. “I’m not implying that there’s going to be any changes, but $50 million is a lot of money.”

The Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Carter reported Wednesday that nine of the 12 ACC schools had to vote for the increase for it to be approved.

Bense, the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, (2004-06), was clear that he approved of the move to add Notre Dame to the league, saying “it’s good for the ACC and Florida State.” Bense also emphasized that Florida State has no plans to explore any other conferences. However, the staggering figure could hamstring the school if it had any plans to make changes down the road.

“Don’t construe his vote against it to mean anything about anything, it’s just that in my business that when you get in something you better figure out a way to get out of something,” Bense said. “We have no desire to get out, but $50 million makes it pretty tough to do anything.”

Punitive? You mean like the Big 12’s “Grant of Rights” clause that locks in the TV revenue to the conference regardless of whether they leave for another conference? You never say never if there was a lawsuit, but it’s clear that there are some other highly “punitive” exit restrictions the ACC could cite.

That full exit fee, by the way, also applies to Notre Dame. The only way they are bolting is if the ACC at some point tells them it is all-in or you are out.

Pitt and Syracuse had no say in this as they are not yet in the ACC. Hence 9 of 12. Regardless, safe to say Pitt and Cuse would have gone along with the deal.

Maryland voting against it — if true — would lend some credence to the rumors that they at least wanted to keep their options open with regards to the Big 10. The fact that it went through means that Clemson and/or Virginia Tech also supported the exit fee hike. Something that probably pisses off a chunk of the fanbases who agitate to be elsewhere.

At the presser John Swofford stated that there was no interest in a 16th team — like say a basketball only school — to bring balance to the basketball side. This makes sense if the long-term goal is to reel in Notre Dame as a full member. At that point, you could consider another program that also plays football. 15 teams is only a minor scheduling headache.

The presser also revealed just how much football drives the TV revenue. Even in the ACC.

Notre Dame won’t get any of the ACC’s football television money, for obvious reasons. Swofford said that makes up 80 percent of the ACC’s deal, monetarily. So the Fighting Irish would then get a 1/15 share of the other 20 percent from the contract.

Which, if reports of the bump in annual TV revenue is accurate is somewhere near $4 million a year.

Another item to note. The move to 15 teams in basketball means that the ACC is looking to create a second “protected rivalry.” That is the annual home-and-home. ND might be the obvious choice with Pitt as the second team, because Pitt is now their closest team geographically. I guess, but I’d rather it be against Syracuse.

What this ND move does mean is that at the top-five conferences, expansiopocolypse may finally be at a significant pause. I don’t want to say end, because it never ends. But for the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC; there don’t look to be any moves to make at the moment. As Frank the Tank wrote, there is no real financial incentive/benefit for the Big 12 to go back to 12 with what is available. Louisville and BYU together might do it. But BYU wants to stick with its independence, and Louisville isn’t worth it alone to expand to 11.

Now that alignment is resolved Pitt needs to become competitive ASAP. With 9 ACC games plus a PSU or WVU the scheduling days of an FCS plus 2 MACs are finally thankfully

Comment by JR 09.13.12 @ 8:54 am

Good info, Chase. Thanks! Arguably the ACC could have waited a little while and let ND sit in an odd, out-of-place and athletically and academically challenged Big East but all-in-all this a good move for the ACC. I don’t see a scheduling problem for basketball and it obviously provides a great deal of stability to the conference.

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 09.13.12 @ 9:40 am

I hope it’s over for awhile. I mentioned ad nauseum on here over the last year,

“why don’t they do something ridiculous, like making the exit fee 50, 75, 100 million?”

Kind of got dismissed I might ad.

Now, could they have done this without the ND thing?? Probably not, because it would have pushed Clemson and FSU to decide, and could of forced them to bolt.

My thoughts were, take a vote, and let’s see where everyone stands. I would still think they could have voted 9-3 and got it.

The Va Tech and NC ST talk was always about, moving, only if the ACC lost Clemson and FSU, so, ya, maybe they would have voted no also, so as to not force Clemson and FSU’s hand.

So, maybe they couldn’t have.

Someone mentioned, that 50M won’t be a total deal killer, another conference could help out with half or something, I don’t know, 50M is a pretty big sum. The AD would have to have some pretty hard core numbers to back up, to even throw it out there to a Prez. or BOT.

50M, is some pretty good cement.

Which now leads us too, the 50M won’t take effect for a couple years till ND gets here.

If Texas et al, ever wanted to make a pitch to FSU and Clemson, and they started to think seriously about it, and really wanted them for the future, the next two years are the window.

Hopefully, ND coming, and the extra tv money, and money from home games, will be enough for FSU and Clemson to not even call back!!

Don’t like that Bense saying, “50M is punitive, don’t know if that will hold up”.

We all took notice of this huge story, I’m sure the Texas and Oklahoma people did too.

Comment by Dan 09.13.12 @ 9:44 am

Not as against it as I was yesterday, still think ND gets there cake and eats it too.

Some good things for the ACC though too.

Someone mentioned the NBC contract is up in two years with NBC. What if they don’t renew.

Just asking, I have no thoughts, why wouldn’t NBC renew their contract with ND???

It also does make it easier for the ND administration and ath. dept., if it ever would come time for ND to join a conference for football, to join the obvious choice.

Still don’t like the arrogance. Not just the school either, the fans. Ever been around them. When the win, they dance around like everything is right in the world, when they lose, they’re like schleprocks.

Ya, we all do the same to a degree, but I know a couple of real ND blowhards, and they’re hard to take.

Comment by Dan 09.13.12 @ 9:52 am

Looking at NBC’s $$ (P&L and viewership) vs. ESPN’s may have entered the though process and Dan mentioned above. Where will NBC be in 2 years? I think we know ESPN’s financial trajectory.

Comment by CompLit 09.13.12 @ 10:31 am

That is “thought” process.

Comment by CompLit 09.13.12 @ 10:32 am

I concur that $50M is steep, but is it that far more than WVU at $20M? The return on investment for the Big12 on the WVU deal was slightly more than 4 years, so that is not too steep. What this really protects, is a conference raid of multiple teams. The Big12, SEC and Big10 could not fund 50% of $100M to get two teams, so to me, that is where your stability lies.

Conversely and with proper leadership and planning, a conference such as the SEC could do it in three years, absolutely. It’s about mergers and acquisitions. These conferences, if so inclined, could put aside $5-$8 million aside each year to help fund expansion. When the pot gets big enough, take the plunge for the right team. It’s ROI, leadership and planning. All things, the Big East lacked.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 09.13.12 @ 10:39 am

OOps, my assumption above is based off of funding at 50% each between university and conference (i.e. wvu/big12 split).

Comment by dhuffdaddy 09.13.12 @ 10:47 am

NBC wouldn’t renew the contract with ND if the viewership doesn’t pick up. Right now, ABC/ESPN and CBS have better college football ratings. Viewership will increase if ND plays better and wins more (sound familiar?) That’s the only way to attract the non-core fan.

link to

Check out the graph midway down in the article.

Comment by Pitt Dad 09.13.12 @ 11:32 am

@Pitt Dad, great link. I get the money and viewership side.

Wondering, would NBC keep ND just for the cache of having ND??

Or, are things tightening up enough, that if they don’t bring the dollars, there is a good chance they won’t renew??

NBC not renewing, would almost guarantee, I think, ND coming on board the ACC.

I guess they could get an exclusive deal with ABC, CBS or even ESPN.

If it’s a loser though, they may have to join the club??????

Comment by Dan 09.13.12 @ 11:47 am

I see the $50m as a good thing because joining the ACC was primarily due to stability — wasn’t it? And we started to have 2nd thoughts when we heard about Clemson and FSU leaving — didn’t we?

Comment by wbb 09.13.12 @ 11:48 am

I’d be shocked if NBC didn’t re-up with Notre Dame, despite ratings numbers. NBC really seems to be pushing its sports opportunities more, including its “NBC Sports Network.” They’ve been buying up whatever they can, rights wise (soccer, hockey, non-BCS conference stuff) so I’d think Notre Dame football is a must-keep for that, regardless of how well they are playing.

Comment by JW 09.13.12 @ 11:55 am

@JW, that’s what i’ve been thinking. I mean, good rating or bad, ND is kind of one of NBC’s flaghips, no???

Now, perhaps NBC will not be able to offer ND as much as ND wants for the next contract if the advertising dollars aren’t there.

Could ESPN get involved, and re-do the ACC contracts in a few years, if ND were to join, thus increasing ND television revenue more than NBC??

I’d say things are “almost” settling down for awhile, but not for another year or two, until the ND/NBC thing, and the 50M buyout are in place.

Until then, gonna probably still hear some stories.

Comment by Dan 09.13.12 @ 12:19 pm

Wonder what Deloss Dodds is thinking this a.m.??

Comment by Dan 09.13.12 @ 12:24 pm

The possibility does exist that ND went to the ACC and said, look the Big 12 has offered us membership for our olympic sports and will let us maintain our football independence. We are worried about the state of the BE for our olympic sports. We feel like we have to make a move now. We really want to be a part of the ACC but only if we can keep our football independence. We’ll guarantee you some football games every year. If the answer is no, we’ll be holding a news conference in Irving, TX next week. What do you say ACC?

Comment by HbgFrank 09.13.12 @ 12:25 pm

@Dan, JW – Yes NBC is expanding its sports brands but does ND really want to be seen mostly on the old Versus? The deal will, of course, come down to dollars. Which would bring ND more, the new contract offered by NBC or a share of ACC’s ESPN deal which, would most likely, increase with NDs full membership.

One other possibility, NBC uses its leverage with ND to get a piece of ESPN’s ACC football deal.

Either way, I’d be willing to go on record now as saying I think ND will be a full member post 2015.

Comment by Pitt Dad 09.13.12 @ 12:34 pm

“which, would most likely,” should be “which would, most likely,” – I hate misplaced commas

Comment by Pitt Dad 09.13.12 @ 12:36 pm

The example most cited and connected to NBC is the olympics. NBC did not make money televising the olympics. They lost money, but received the “prestige” of securing and carrying the games.

Same reason with ND. It’s the prestige factor because no other major network can boast carrying one “team”. So now the carrot. ND will use joining the ACC as leverage to secure a good deal in 2015. Their response to NBC will be, pay us commensurate or slightly better with conferences like the ACC or we will join. NBC will need to do it just because of the embarassment of losing them. Personally, I think if ND struggles this year and next with viewership and on field wins, that contract will be in trouble. The reality is that it will stay in place until at least 2020.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 09.13.12 @ 12:39 pm

A10 now in talks with big east bball schools

Comment by paul shannon 09.13.12 @ 12:45 pm

What i read yesterday was this when ND gives the ACC 5 games and it is time for the new bowl tie in
that becuse the ACC has made ND part of the ACC bowl tie ins that better bowl will want to tie in with the ACC better bowls than then they would have got had ND not come.

so part of the reason was to get better bowl tie in plus it helps to make the ACC number 1 in basket ball just like pitt and the orange did
plus it keeps ND away from the big 12 plus if they do join a leage in football it will be the AA.

PLUS THE acc will get more mony from tv for this so it is a win win all arund.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.13.12 @ 12:53 pm

WHAT i did not hear is the the time line
is it the same as pitt and the orange 2 years plus
and they did not play football in big east so what do they pay to leave 5 million or 20 million who knows please tell me if you do know.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.13.12 @ 12:59 pm

Overall it’s a positive deal and helped facilitate keeping all schools together – which is great for obvious reasons, but also to shut up hoopie fans who pushed and insisted that FSU was leaving and wanted so bad for ACC to fall apart.

Comment by JoeP 09.13.12 @ 1:18 pm

@Pitt Dad– You’re right about that from ND’s perspective, but I just think in the end NBC will offer the most lucrative deal money-wise, and we know that’s what is truly comes down to.

Comment by JW 09.13.12 @ 1:29 pm

If NBC wants to lose money on ND football for the “prestige”, then ND will stay with NBC. I’m just not sure that NBC’s new corporate majority owner, Comcast, thinks losing money is such a good idea. Neither does GE. And remember, long before the NBC deal, Comcast tried to take over Disney to get control of the ESPN family of networks. This is a long game. It will be fun to follow. We just have to hope that, whatever transpires, is in Pitt’s best interests.

Comment by Pitt Dad 09.13.12 @ 2:01 pm

ND has to pay $5MM and wait 27 months, unless it negotiates like Pitt & Syracuse

Comment by Rayhpgh 09.13.12 @ 2:20 pm

Rayhpgh thank for the info

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.13.12 @ 2:59 pm

Can anyone please explain how the TV dollars sort out when ND plays an ACC opponent under their new deal with the ACC? I’ve seen it posted above that ND is not entitled to any ACC football revenue (80% of the ACC TV contract). But ND keeps 100% of its payout under it’s deal with NBC. So who decides who gets to broadcast the ND vs. ACC team game? ESPN, NBC or both?

Comment by Financepro 09.13.12 @ 3:24 pm

I believe any ND home game is on NBC so an ND/ACC game under this agreement played in South Bend (or a neutral site of ND’s choice) would be an NBC not an ESPN game.

Comment by Pitt Dad 09.13.12 @ 6:11 pm

Wonder if having Notre Dame in the league will influence where the ACC B-ball tourney is held? Would love to see it move to the Garden even if it’s only every other year.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 09.13.12 @ 7:12 pm

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