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IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: ACC TOURNAMENT A MONEY-MAKER
Published March 4, 1999
The economic impact of the ACC Tournament is profiled by Mark Asher of the WASHINGTON POST, who writes that "it is by far the conference's biggest money-maker, directly accounting for" $35-40M in revenue for its nine member schools. The schools raised a total of $52M in tax deductible donations to their athletic scholarship funds in the FY '98 and "expect" to generate $55-60M in the current FY. ACC Associate Commissioner Tom Mickle said roughly 50% of those donations are "attributable directly" to the tournament. When revenue from ticket sales ($3.2M), TV rights fees ($5.7M), corporate sponsorships (at least $3M) and program sales/licensed products ($250,000) are included, the total "surpasses" $35M. For this year's tourney at the 23,000-seat Charlotte Coliseum, each school was allotted 2,450 tickets at $220 per booklet. Raycom Sports Exec VP Ken Haines said that the tournament normally draws triple the ratings of regular season games. Haines "attributes" a third of the revenue from the ACC's $17M basketball TV rights fee -- which is paid by Raycom and Jefferson-Pilot Sports -- to the tournament. Due to the scarcity of tickets, a source said that Haines "limits" his $3M corporate sponsors, which includes both TV ads and an ACC partnership, to six tickets each. Another source of revenue for the conference during the tournament is the retail sale of licensed merchandise, which usually totals between $400,000 and $500,000 (WASHINGTON POST, 3/4).