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ACC's Swofford Says Grant Of Media Rights Was Critical For League's Future
Published June 7, 2013
HOOPS HYPE: ESPN Senior VP/College Sports Programming Burke Magnus said of the ACC's grant of rights, "I think they recognized in order to quell the conversation -- real or imagined -- about their perceived instability, they needed to demonstrate in the most meaningful way there was solidarity and shared purpose. That allows them to operate without the specter of realignment and reach their full potential. They're in the process -- especially a year from now with Louisville -- of having a spectacular basketball conference, the likes of which we've probably never seen. The promise is there in football. They would recognize they could be better in football." Magnus said of the impact a good basketball conference can have financially for a network, "I think what the ACC has created could in many ways redefine what's possible in college basketball in terms of fan interest. When you have the likes of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville joining Tobacco Road along with their other basketball brands, there are real possibilities there. We're going to move them into our franchise Big Monday slot with the Big 12 so they'll have early games on Monday nights" (AL.com, 6/6).
WORK IN PROGRESS: Magnus said that ESPN has "not gone beyond 'initial conversations' with the ACC on the channel concept." CBSSPORTS.com's Jeremy Fowler noted there are "still serious hurdles to clear for a channel to happen." Step one is "what to do with Raycom" and its syndicated rights. It seems "unlikely that Raycom would sell back to ESPN on the cheap, and the ACC knows this." A source said the ACC plans to "make the deal 'enticing' for Raycom and will probably have to come out of the pocket to secure a successful sell" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/5).