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Winners and Losers: ACC presidents agree to grant of rights

SportsBusiness Journal/Daily staff writers John Ourand and Michael Smith look at the ACC’s grant of rights and what it means:

The ACC announced Monday that its school presidents agreed to a grant of rights, meaning that if a school leaves the conference, its media rights stay with the ACC. The conference now owns the media rights for all 15 schools (except Notre Dame football) through 2027, effectively ending any chance that a school would be poached by another conference.

OURAND: Nobody knows how enforceable this is. The key point for me is that all the schools agreed to this, effectively killing the persistent rumors of North Carolina and Virginia to the Big Ten and Miami/Florida State to the SEC.SMITH: All of the ACC’s presidents signed the contract, which makes it more enforceable than, say, a TV contract, which is signed only by the commissioner. The interesting thing to me is that a couple of the schools thought to be most likely to leave — Florida State and Georgia Tech — were the leaders in getting this approved and signed by their conference peers.

OURAND: To me, the biggest winners are Duke and Wake Forest. They’re two basketball schools that were getting shut out of realignment talk and now they’re guaranteed to be part of a major conference.

SMITH: Another big winner in this is ESPN, because now the network knows what it has. It must be exhausting — and expensive — for the network to continually go back to the negotiating table every time a team jumps conferences. ESPN, as much as anyone, wanted realignment to calm down.

My biggest losers are the Mountain West and American Athletic conferences. The ACC and the Big 12 have both signed long-term grant-of-right agreements, so if the Pac-12 or the Big Ten wants to expand again, they’ll likely have to go to the Mountain West or American Athletic to find teams. The other expansion candidate would be the Big 12, and if it decides to grow to 12 teams, it could go for Connecticut and Cincinnati. West Virginia would like to have conference brethren in the Big 12 that aren’t 1,000 miles away.

I agree. To me, the Big Ten and SEC lose on this deal, too, since they both looked to ACC schools as potential expansion targets.
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