ACC’s new TV deal must close the gap with the SEC

 

 

Greensboro, N.C.—The ACC expanded in 2004 to add Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech for one very important reason: The league wanted to go to 12 teams in order to make sure it didn’t lose its seat at the table—both competitively and financially–with the big boys of college football.

In most aspects, expansion has been a success for ACC football. No, the league has not been in the national championship discussion lately, but it has done very well at the bank. In 2005 it signed a new seven-year television contract with ABC and ESPN for a reported $258 million. Simply because of expansion, the ACC went from making about $21 million per year on televised football to about $37.6 million per year. Last year the ACC sent a record 10 teams to bowl games. So from a purely financial standpoint, expansion has worked.

But that was then and this is now. And right now the SEC has changed the entire landscape of college sports with its staggering 15-year, $3 billion agreements with ESPN and CBS.

 “The SEC deal is certainly huge in terms of the dollars and the length of the agreement,” Swofford said when I met with him at the ACC Football Kickoff. “There is usually a separation of some kind that is inevitable when new deals are struck. But I will admit that this separation is larger than most.”

The SEC deal impacts everything and everybody. Conservatively, SEC schools expect to see their annual shared revenue jump from about $11 million per school to over $16 million per school per  year. That is a game changer in a competitive market. While other conferences like the ACC are cutting costs (the ACC cut its budget by 6 percent for the coming year) the SEC is suddenly flush with cash. There is more money to attract the best coaches. There is more money for recruiting. The increased exposure gives the SEC an edge in recruiting.

The ACC’s television deals expire after the 2011 season and Swofford made it clear that his league must find a way to close that gap in the next television contract.

Here is the problem. The SEC agreed to its deal in the summer of 2008, right before the bottom dropped out of the economy. The ACC is trying to negotiate its new deal in a lousy economy.

And in order to maximize its dollars in the next television contract, the ACC may have to get creative—and a little bold. It is only a concept right now, but the ACC could eventually join forces with another conference–say the Pac-10–to give greater negotiating power with the networks.

By design, the ACC’s lucrative men’s basketball contracts are up for renewal at the same time as football. In the past, these contracts have been negotiated separately because basketball carried so much weight. Swofford said that the two sports may be joined into one contract next time around. So basketball could be used to as leverage to maximize football revenue.

Swofford made it clear that his first choice in these negotiations is to stick with the ACC’s current television partners: ABC, ESPN, and Raycom. But the SEC said goodbye to some of its TV partners when it sold everything to ESPN and CBS. Because of what the SEC has done, the ACC is going to face some tough choices in the next two years.

“We just have to see how this plays out, but yes, these are important negotiations for us. What it’s about is doing the best with what you have, whether it’s a lot or a little,” said Swofford. “With all that said, I’d rather have a lot than a little.”

 

Please follow me on Twitter at:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

 

117 comments Add your comment

Spike

July 28th, 2009
7:16 am

ACC football… Yawn.

Atlanta Gator

July 28th, 2009
7:16 am

saint simons—-Speaking as someone who doesn’t really have a dog in your tussle with UGA, may I suggest that you need to get some newer and funnier one-liners? I understand that some bloggers feel that their principal reason for posting is to provide entertainment for others—-what’s yours? Funny can be good, but repetitive insults is, well, boring.

Top Dawg

July 28th, 2009
7:27 am

Does anybody know how many media passes were issued for the ACC Media Days?

Atlanta Gator

July 28th, 2009
7:32 am

The ACC made a real power move when it added Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech to the league. The ACC powers-that-be knew the conference’s football teams would make more money, get more and better television exposure, and, they hoped, become a regular fixture in BCS title discussions.

Virginia Tech has held up its end of the bargain, but the ACC’s two marquee football programs, Florida State and Miami, promptly nose-dived. Bad timing for the ACC, but some good may have come of it yet. The power vacuum created by FSU and Miami’s downturn has allowed programs like Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest an opportunity to improve, strengthening the ACC from the bottom up.

The ACC is currently a good football conference, but it currently lacks a high-profile national championship contender, like Florida or Alabama, at the top. Until FSU or Miami return to the top ranks of Division I football, or until Georgia Tech, North Carolina or Virginia Tech experience a true break-out season followed by some consistency in remaining in contention yearly, the ACC will remain the conference of parity and unrealized “potential.”

BTW, Wake Forest football under Grobe may be good from time to time, but the ACC cannot rely on Wake to carry the ball for it—-Wake’s alumni and fan base is too small to put bottoms in seats and fill stadiums for conference championships and bowl games. The ACC really needs its larger schools (with bigger regional and national fanbases) to return to the top ranks of Division I football.

BWH Dawg

July 28th, 2009
7:48 am

SEC Rules,

The worst mistake GTech ever made was leaving the ACC. You Tech fans cannot blame that decision on the Georgia Board of Regents, your lack of a large student body or politics. This decision was made by your legendary coach, Bobby Dodd. So, while each SEC team receives over $16 million in TV revenue ALONE, you and your ACC brethren get $3.13 million each. My calculus says this is more than 5 times what the Almost Competitive Conference gets in TV revenue. For all of your so called academic prowess in the classroom, the SEC is eating your lunch in the real (business) world. The SEC is the most financially secure and the best conference on the field. The worst news for you Techies is that you could have enjoyed this success, but Bobby decided to leave for greener pastures many years ago. Welcome to the private HELL that your own coach created. HaHaHa. THWGT!!!!!!

chris o bomb

July 28th, 2009
7:50 am

thwg… sec bball like the big ten football is boring(besides a little ut and the regular stir up of kentucky). hope the 3 billion dollar deal will not put more sec bball games on the prime time slots. see ratings.

Gator Mike

July 28th, 2009
7:51 am

Not to be disrespectful to our ACC friends, but I am sure that most of us SEC fans could not care less about ACC deals or their conference as a whole. I am sure the ACC fans feel the same about the SEC.
Go Gators and Go SEC!!!

ACC

July 28th, 2009
7:54 am

ACC= Another Crappy Conference!!!!

Bub

July 28th, 2009
7:57 am

One major difference between the SEC and the ACC right now is the popularity of their respective championship games. The SEC can’t print enough tickets for theirs, while the ACC can’t give them away, no matter where the game is played. Until that changes, the ACC will always be considered a second-class football league.

SEC

July 28th, 2009
7:59 am

SEC= Sorry Excuse for Conference.

Mr Atlanta Gator

July 28th, 2009
8:00 am

hey , the only reason saint simons keeps posting that,, is that it is ALL his whole life hinges on….he probably doesnt have a wife or kids but if he does he doesnt pay them any attention, for the dawgs consume his life so bad that he has all this fustration built up over his IRRLEVANT team losing to Georgia……..Im starting to feel well …..kinda sorry for him:(

Who is Gt??

July 28th, 2009
8:00 am

Gt is IRRLEVANT!!!!!!So is the ACC

Jim

July 28th, 2009
8:11 am

Why Wouldn’t Tony go to the ACC and ask questions about the SEC, He is asking them to compare themselves to the Best in Football, Basketballa And Baseball! The SEC is the giant that everyone is looking up to. Just always remember SEC SEC SEC SEC!

Breaking News

July 28th, 2009
8:26 am

Tony,

ABC just announced it will not carry the ACC Championship game but will instead air the Dinah Shore Open.

ESPN said it “has no intention” of picking up the game and further stated it “has no idea” where it is being played.

Uh, BWH Dawg

July 28th, 2009
8:26 am

…”The worst mistake GTech ever made was leaving the ACC.”

I believe you mean leaving the SEC?!?!?!?!? But, you are correct that it was the greener pastures of being like Notre Dame as an independent that led Coach Dodd to talk the powers that be into leaving the conference.

And, Tech has continued to hold up their end of the bargain – they ARE just like Notre Dame – totally irrelevant in today’s football, and bascially all of college sports, world!

Gen Neyland

July 28th, 2009
8:27 am

Gotta have a product to sell or else the slogan for a huge ACC TV contract may read, ‘There’s a sucker born every minute’…

Seriously?

July 28th, 2009
8:31 am

I wonder how happy ESPN and CBS are going to be when UT, Auburn, UK, Vandy & Miss St. are below .500, then usce and arkansas might be bowl eligible, uga & ole miss both have unimpressive 8-4 seasons….hmm, so they basically bought Tebows last year (urban will be gone afterwards), 3 years of Saban (you know he won’t be there longer than that) and LSU…I have a question, when you can’t even fill up all of your bowl spots, how can you brag about how “brutal” your conference schedule is? Scary thing is that now all ESPIN is going to do is hype the “SEC” even more than the imbreds already do. Its ok, you have huge stadiums though.

Anonymous

July 28th, 2009
8:35 am

m = saint simons = god and greyhound

No one else on the blog uses the expression “homer gomer”. Thank God.

Atlanta Gator

July 28th, 2009
8:42 am

Gator Mike—-Apparently, you have very little imagination. The ACC television contract should be very relevant to SEC fans, and Gator fans in particular, because of its impact on Florida State and Miami’s football programs, and other SEC rival schools in the ACC throughout the region. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Gators were lucky to have 3 to 4 of their football games shown on one of the major networks (and the rest on Jefferson Pilot, ESPN2, Sunshine, or pay-per-view). Times have changed, but there is still a lot of regional competition for which games get shown, on which networks, and in which time slots.

Cleatm

July 28th, 2009
8:42 am

Some people are talking about the ACC making a deal with Fox or TBS/TNT. Fox coverage lacks.. but i just want to make a deal with some network.

Zell

July 28th, 2009
8:52 am

Where is the ACC championship game?

Kevin Greene

July 28th, 2009
8:55 am

Tony -

Since ESPN has agreed to show all the SEC games on one of their networks, how does this effect the other conferences? Will the ACC need to go to another network? Fox gave up the BCS, are they getting out of the College Game? Is NBC (Notre Dame Broadcasting Co.) looking for another partner? Could the ACC do a similar deal with CBS/ESPN and switch time slots (ACC game on ESPN at 3:30pm and on CBS at 7:30pm)?

Don’t forget, these TV contracts also effect the Neutral Site games and also could change the Bowl tie-ins (which are also being worked on right now).

Yellowblood

July 28th, 2009
9:12 am

You may have more money than us but you have no academicic integrity and you certainly don’t have Tickle Piles.

jumbeauxtiger

July 28th, 2009
9:15 am

You are correct about Wake Atlanta Gator. Grobe has done a good ob but they can’t carry the ACC. I believe Wake is the smallest school in 1A.

I hope the ACC does get stronger as I think it’s good for college football.

Geaux Tigers]
Go SEC

SomewhereinGA

July 28th, 2009
9:16 am

Compare the SEC Champioship game with the ACC’s this past year….no comparison! Empty seats everywhere to see two mules fighting over a turnip as Lewis would have said.

What a joke…even Saint Simons agrees with me on that!

JoeV

July 28th, 2009
9:16 am

Gator Mike…

If you could not care less you wouldn’t have clicked the link when you read the headline. Go away.

SimpleDawg

July 28th, 2009
9:16 am

You little yeller fellers are at it again……

Expansion has helped the ACC immensely. The conference has deservedly gained much greater respect and notoriety for football. Top to bottom, it is a consistently competitive conference…and it’s only going to get better, but so is everyone else.

The 85 scholarship rule is the single greatest factor in the rise of the ACC members, as well as the traditional doormats of the SEC, Big 12, the Boise States, Utahs, etc. of the college football world. The major difference in team-to-team recruiting and on-the-field performances is directly tied to the head coach. Good coaches in a major conference can build a good program; great coaches in a major conference can build great programs, and the greater the existing tradition, the quicker the rise.

It ain’t rocket science people….if it were, those little yeller fellers would win every game…theoretically speaking of course.

CharlotteGator

July 28th, 2009
9:17 am

Living in ACC country, I’m not quite sure that the ACC’s TV deal is ever going to match the SEC’s. For better or worse, I believe the main reason the SEC deal is so lucrative is because of the intense demand among the SEC’s fans and the trickle down effect. When SEC fanbases are passionate they buy tickets, they travel, the watch games, they fill up stadiums, etc. The increased $ from all that improves coaching hires and exposure, which gives an edge in recruiting, which eventually translates to better play on the field. Then you just rinse and repeat. I’m sure I left out a ton more side effects. Experiencing ACC country firsthand, there is one fact that is brutally apparent: this is basketball country. I just don’t see the demand of ACC football fans ever approaching that of the SEC. Even now, all that’s on the radio is how long until NFL training camp. Any college football talk is usually SEC related unless they’re interviewing an ACC coach. I liken ACC football to SEC basketball. No matter the level of success (see back to back UF championships) it’s never going to be the same level as football.

As for all the complaints of SEC talk during ACC coverage, what else should Tony be talking about? What are the interesting story lines in the ACC? Dabo at Clemson? VaTech fixing it’s offensive woes? Miami on the comeback? Teams adjusting to Tech’s offense? FSU transitioning to Jimbo? NC State’s QB in year 2? What’s the riveting storyline that Tony should be covering coming out of the ACC?

Bamafan

July 28th, 2009
9:18 am

The ACC is a basketball conference just like the SEC is a football conference. If Florida State and Miami ever get back to playing good football than the ACC would have a very good football conference. The SEC can not hang with the ACC in basketball, but watch out for Kentucky when all of
the 5 stars players start playing this season and the fighting gators has a pretty good baketball program all so!!

SugarHillDawg

July 28th, 2009
9:21 am

Hey how about the Home Shopping Network.

Atlanta Gator

July 28th, 2009
9:23 am

Zell—The ACC Championship Game was held in Tampa last year, and will be again this year. The first three years the game was held in Jacksonville. In 2010, it moves to Charlotte for two years.

For what it’s worth, Wikipedia says that 53,927 tickets were sold, but only 27,360 were counted at the turnstiles. (What’s up with that, sports fans?) Best attendance was 72,000+ for the first ACC CG in 2005, when #22 FSU beat #5 Virginia Tech.

IM4BAMA

July 28th, 2009
9:25 am

The only Gap the ACC will close is between it’s legs.

Atlanta Gator

July 28th, 2009
9:26 am

SimpleDawg—-You know how to toss a clever insult and talk smack. Kudos to you. Woof, woof.

Marta Evangelist

July 28th, 2009
9:29 am

Wow. I’ve never been much of a conspiracy theorist, but your lack of clarity with the numbers here is disturbing. Why do you publish the numbers for the SEC for ALL sports, but publish the ACC numbers for football only? Did you not think that readers would try to compare the two numbers directly? (BWH Dog already did). The bottom line is, until this renegotiation, the ACC had a better deal than the SEC. Once the ACC gets a new deal in two years, the two conferences will be really close.

It’s funny how some SEC fans hang their hats on TV deals, large stadiums, and high recruiting rankings. Personally, I only care if my team wins…that’s all that matters.

heelacious

July 28th, 2009
9:38 am

dot com or rag version, either way the ajc and their $ec shill barnhart are going to stuff the keyboard w/ $ec bias. The acc championship game was gifted to Fl. to appease Miami and F$U. Big mistake. In 2010 it moves to Charlotte and will be sold out from then on…bank on it.
Take ‘bama, UF, and occasionally Uga out of the $ec and the rest would struggle to get to .500 vs. the ACC. And the gap is narrowing. You better hope ‘bama can handle VT. The gap aint what it used to be.

Gator Mike

July 28th, 2009
9:44 am

Atlanta, good shot, but you really missed my point. Most SEC Fans, myself included, do not really care what is going on in the ACC. They have their venue, and allof us have ours. Past tense is not the issue to me. I have my season tickets in the Swamp, and I have also suffered through the good and bad years, but that is all past tense. Personally, my focus is on now as are most GATOR, DAWG, BAMA, VOL, etc fans. Our concern is this years SEC race. Let the ACC folks do their thing. I hope you agree with me that the ACC fans are probably P###ed off that the SEC has the GA Dome locked up for the Conf Championship Game for the next few years.
Have a nice day.

PTC DAWG

July 28th, 2009
9:53 am

An ACC fan hit the nail on the head above, it’s the FANS, and their interest. I frankly don’t see the ACC selling out Charlotte for the SECCG unless Clemson or VA TECH or FSU is involved.

And yes, a great move by the SEC to lock down the GA DOME for the SECCG.

CharlotteGator

July 28th, 2009
9:54 am

heelacious,

I agree that after the game moves here to the Queen City, it will do a lot better attendance wise. Hopefully the matchup on the field will be a good contest as well.

As far as…
“Take ‘bama, UF, and occasionally Uga out of the $ec and the rest would struggle to get to .500 vs. the ACC. And the gap is narrowing.”

That’s a little crazy don’t you think? That’s like saying the ACC is terrible without VaTech, GaTech, etc. Might be true, but you can say that about any conference if you take its best teams out. Weak argument. Also, I think LSU would have no problems matching up with any ACC contender you want to throw at them. I believe they had a little success against the ACC’s best a few years ago if I’m not mistaken.

CharlotteGator

July 28th, 2009
9:57 am

Atlanta Gator,

Great 7:32 a.m. post. Tony could have lifted it and stuffed it into his post :)

Must have had the coffee going to bring it like that before most have gotten to work. Great stuff as usual.

Mark in Woodstock

July 28th, 2009
10:02 am

The GA Dome is not the place for the ACC title game…the place is Charlotte…it should have always been in the Panthers stadium from the start…right in the middle of the conference. As an ACC fan I agree with you…I care about my conference and hardly pay attention to the other.

Not Disappointed

July 28th, 2009
10:05 am

I think Charlotte is a good place for the acc as well.

Ramblin Wreck!

Trade School Junkie

July 28th, 2009
10:12 am

An important fact that is often overlooked is this:

No matter what conference or sport we’re talking about, ANY AND ALL MONEY that ABC, ESPN, CBS, etc. give to a conference, ultimately comes from…THE FANS.

I guess it wont be long before Walmart OWNS the SEC.

Mark in Woodstock

July 28th, 2009
10:13 am

Putting the game in Jax and Tampa were incredibly stupid decisions….they put those games down there and set up the divisions with the thought FSU and Miami would dominate the conference…that didn’t work out so well.

Ed-Covington

July 28th, 2009
10:16 am

Let’s compare apples to apples. The SEC deal is for 15 years for all sports; the ACC has negotiated its TV contracts seperately for basketball and football. We are comparing the ACC “football only” contract with the SEC “all-inclusive” contract without even mentioning what the ACC basketball contract is worth. Also, didn’t the ACC play the championship game in Charlotte but have poor ticket sales? THWG & THWVT!

Joe

July 28th, 2009
10:17 am

WOW Tony…I am impressed. Here we have an article that’s not about UF, Urban or Tebow…….what happened??????? Sort of surprised it didnt read “ACC’s new TV deal must close gap with Meyer, Tebow and the rest of the SEC”

Coach Cool

July 28th, 2009
10:22 am

ACC is a BASKETBALL conference that happens to play some football.

The SEC is the OPPOSITE (FOOTBALL conference that happens to play some basketball.)

March Madness has a higher q-rating than the BCS (ever see any empty seats at a Final Four venue??? Look at all the empties at non-championship BCS sites!!!)

It’s sad when you’re WOMEN’S sports (I’m including gymnastics) have a higher profile than your MEN’S sport.

BWAAAAAA HAAAAA!!!

North Avenue Dude

July 28th, 2009
10:26 am

It’s all…BREAD & CIRCUSES.

god and greyhound

July 28th, 2009
10:27 am

the realignment of the acc should have rutgers, BC and UConn in the north, not in different regions like they are now.

Gen Neyland

July 28th, 2009
10:34 am

Joe : What possessed you to bring Florida, Meyer and Tebow into the conversation today..? My shrink says you might be subliminally infected.

Gatorzone

July 28th, 2009
10:34 am

WHen did Rutgers and UConn join the ACC?