SBD/May 10, 2012/Media

ACC's Renegotiated 15-Year Deal With ESPN Is Worth An Average Of $240M Per Year

The deal includes broadcast rights for additional football and men's hoops games
The ACC's newly renegotiated media contract with ESPN will pay $3.6B over the next 15 years, an average of $240M per year, according to industry sources. That is just shy of the record $250M deal the Pac-12 negotiated with Fox and ESPN. The ACC's new deal was the byproduct of conference expansion from 12 to 14 teams with the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh last year. The league's 14 teams beginning in '13-14 will receive an average of $17.14M, a sharp 32.9% increase over the $12.9M each of the first 12 schools received under the terms of the previous deal with ESPN, which was in its first year. The renegotiation was prompted by a clause in the contract that permitted the conference to go back to the table if its number of teams changed by two or more (Smith & Ourand, SportsBusiness Journal). MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds noted the deal "covers all of ESPN's various platforms," and "includes additional men's hoops and gridiron action, Olympic sports and sponsorship rights" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 5/9). The AP's Aaron Beard noted the deal "comes as the league moves to an 18-game schedule in men's and women's basketball despite having just 12 teams next season." ESPN Senior VP/College Programming Burke Magnus said that the net "liked the combination of more teams and more league games instead of lower-profile nonconference matchups" (AP, 5/9).

TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes the agreement is a "good sign for leagues looking to jack up their TV fees." The SEC and Big 12 are negotiating extensions to their TV deals, and Univ. of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard said, "Those conferences should be happy to hear the news. It's a feeding frenzy" (USA TODAY, 5/10). In DC, Mark Giannotto notes the SEC last year "paid each of its 12 member schools about $17 million through television agreements signed in 2009 with CBS and ESPN, but SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has indicated he will also try to renegotiate the league’s contract with Missouri and Texas A&M joining the conference next season." Reports indicate that Big Ten schools each receive "at least $20 million per year as part of the league’s television contracts" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/10). SI.com's Stewart Mandel wrote, "You may not believe it, but the Big East, even in its depleted state, will fetch a hefty payday when its TV contract comes up this fall." Television networks "covet live sporting events because of the DVR factor, and the Big East stands to provide a lucky network or networks with a massive amount of inventory (with 12 teams in 2013), some very attractive television markets (Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Orlando) and an extremely popular multi-day event, the Big East basketball tournament" (SI.com, 5/9).

SOMETHING TO KEEP AN EYE ON: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon writes the ACC's $4M annual increase per school "isn't bad considering how little football leverage it had," but it is "debatable if the increase insulates the ACC from losing a member if (when?) the next round of realignment occurs" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 5/10). In Dallas, Chuck Carlton notes the "suggestion that Florida State could be looking at the Big 12 has returned and has now hit the media in a big way." Carlton writes, "Here's the basic premise: the Seminoles are unhappy in the ACC and have money concerns. The new ESPN/ACC television deal ... looks underwhelming, especially with third-tier football rights included." Still, two sources indicated that Florida State's name "has not yet been mentioned in expansion talks among Big 12 athletic directors" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/10).
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