SBD/July 5, 2012/Colleges

ACC, Orange Bowl Announce 12-Year Deal To Play Game On Jan. 1

Swofford (l) told ESPN after the deal "it's likely" Notre Dame could be involved
The ACC and the Orange Bowl Committee on Tuesday announced a new 12-year tie-in, effective after the '14 season, that places the ACC football champion in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 1 at 1:00pm ET. If the ACC winner makes it into the new four-team playoff, a replacement ACC team will play in the Orange Bowl. The conference in a release said that the Orange Bowl will host "at least four semifinal games" in the new playoff format (ACC). In Richmond, Michael Phillips reported ACC Commissioner John Swofford “told ESPN after the announcement ‘it's likely’ Notre Dame could be involved with the Orange Bowl” (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 7/4). In DC, Mark Giannotto noted the Orange Bowl in recent years “had taken place on weeknights after the New Year’s holiday for television purposes, which was inconvenient for fans who had to take extra time off work and pull their children from school to attend.” Swofford on Tuesday called that strategy “a huge mistake.” When Virginia Tech faced Stanford in the Orange Bowl two years ago, the Hokies “managed to sell only 6,500 of their 17,500-ticket allotment.” Virginia Tech in ’09 “sold just more than 3,300 tickets when it played Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/4).

TV TIME: In Virginia, David Teel wrote the Orange Bowl and ACC are “confident enough in their product to negotiate an independent television deal, much like the Big Ten, Pacific 12 and Rose Bowl have long done.” ESPN has “first negotiating rights,” and if Fox and NBC “bid as well, the ACC and its Orange Bowl opponents could be all the richer.” Swofford said, “There may be other (TV) interest as well, as there were some other (networks) interested in the Rose Bowl situation that went to ESPN." He added, "We will move right into that as soon as we are solid on the opponent in the game. There’s no reason not to move forward with it” (DAILYPRESS.com, 7/3). ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel notes the Orange Bowl’s “decision to return to a 1 p.m. New Year’s Day kickoff on Jan. 1, 2015 after some 50 years in prime time provides an interesting twist to the new postseason format.” Multiple bowls for many years have “kicked off in that early-afternoon time slot.” Maisel: “Does that mean that in the years when the Orange Bowl is the site of a national semifinal game, it will have to be played against other bowl games? “ (ESPN.com, 7/5).
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