Just as the Big 12 is on the cusp of signing at 13-year, $2.6 billion TV rights agreement, the ACC has inked its own extension that will put them in the same ballpark as the four richest conferences in college athletics.
In a release sent out today, the ACC announced an exclusive agreement with ESPN through 2026-27 that will increase exposure to the soon-to-be 14-team league. As it pertains to football, “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” is part of the coverage.
“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.”
John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal tweets that the ACC deal with ESPN will be worth $3.6 billion, according to sources.
In other words, about $17 million per school annually for tier 1, 2 and 3 rights.
That’s not quite as lucrative as deals in, say, the Big Ten or Pac-12, where schools will be banking somewhere in the $20 million range annually, but certainly not bad for a basketball conference.
But the deal demonstrates a couple of things. First, it shows that the demand for college football inventory continues to rise at a record pace. How else could a conference that has a deplorable BCS record and a handful of football schools get that kind of money? Just think if the ACC actually put out a better football product.
On that note, the Big East has to feel good about the chances of signing a respectable TV deal of its own. That’s not to say it will be in the range of $17 million – $20 million — probably not even close — but solid nonetheless.
Also, a deal like that likely puts to bed any speculation about Florida State and/or Clemson leaving the conference for the Big 12. For those wondering, yes, there was an internet rumor about that late last week and it was absurd to the point where it wasn’t even worth bringing up.
So while the TV deal, provided the numbers given by Ourand hold up, still keeps the ACC behind the “Big Four” financially, it keeps them in the same stratosphere.