ACC and ESPN Strike New TV Deal, More Money For Everyone (But Not That Much More)

Mar 9, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; The ACC logo and game ball as seen on the floor prior to the start of the quarter-final game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Maryland Terrapins in the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Seems like it wasn't too long ago that we were talking about what the ACC was going to do with its new TV deal. Oh, that's right, it wasn't: about two years ago the conference inked a deal with ESPN over FOX and other competitors, which was scheduled to last 12 years. Since then, though, the ACC's brought aboard Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and that means it's time to renegotiate. Hence a new, even more substantial contract:

ESPN's right fees are expected to rise from the league's 12 schools each getting about $13 million per year to the 14 schools in the expanding league getting about $17 million. ESPN will get new rights, including an additional 30 men's basketball games annually and 14 more conference-controlled football games. Also included, ESPN will be able to televise three Friday ACC football games each season with Boston College and Syracuse each hosting one of those. And, ESPN will also get an afternoon or evening game on Thanksgiving.

The deal will also bring more Olympic (read: non-revenue) sports to the tube, which hopefully means even more soccer and lacrosse for us. That'd hopefully mean a bit of a competitive recruiting advantage for Maryland and other ACC schools - a "you can get on TV with us and not them" type of selling point, or at the very least increased exposure.

But that's small potatoes to the an increase of ~$4mil annually for each school. (The ACC takes its own cut to lower that figure. Not sure why.) That's not a massive increase, but it's not small change, either, especially for an athletic department as economically rickety as Maryland's is. (Remember that two years ago each school was receiving like half of this. If this came a few years earlier, maybe we could've saved a sport or two.) It doesn't change the paradigm, but it provides some much-needed operational breathing room.

Some context:

Conference Annual School $ Through

Big Ten 22M 2031

Pac-12 20.8M 2023

Big 12 20M 2025

SEC 16.7M 2023

ACC 16M 2026

Big East 3.5M 2013

Mountain West 1.17M 2013

Conference USA 1.14M 2015

And yes, my first thought was "SEC WTF?", too. But they haven't re-upped their deal since Mizzou came aboard, I'm guessing, and once they do they'll dwarf everyone else. The bigger point here: even the nu-ACC is at the bottom of the high-major totem pole. Not so pathetically as the Big East, but given that there's like a 50% chance they won't even exist in a year, I'm not sure they're a good measuring stick for us. While it's a nice and much-needed increase, again, I'm not going to start forgetting about the Big Ten anytime soon.

(Although you could make me forget, Notre Dame. Promise.)

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