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Volume 26 No. 60

Colleges

As the AAC prepares to relocate from Providence, R.I., to Dallas next year, Commissioner Mike Aresco will begin looking for a "new space to give increased visibility and access to the conference offices," according to Callie Caplan of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. While the AAC has "waited for its lease to end" in the summer of '20, officials have been "talking to employees about the move to Dallas for several years and warning new hires about the prospects of relocating." Aresco said that in Dallas, the league will have "more frequent contact and opportunities to interact" with ADs, presidents and coaches. Aresco is also "looking forward to 'cross pollination' with other conferences and college football institutions." The Big 12 and CFP have HQs in Irving, while Conference USA is based in Dallas. Arlington, Dallas, Frisco and Ft. Worth combine to host four bowl games (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/31).

LOOKING FOR INCLUSION: In Orlando, Matt Murschel notes much of the AAC discussion during this week's spring meetings "centered on a variety of topics, including how the league handles" the ESPN+ aspect of its new media-rights deal and "re-energizing Power 6 marketing campaign." Aresco asked the group whether the AAC "should request a change" to the CFP requirements that would "send the highest ranked non-autonomous team to the New Year’s Six access bowl rather than the highest ranked conference champion stipulated under current rules." Aresco said that conference leaders "haven’t decided where they stand on the matter or whether they would take it up with the other Group of 5 conferences." The issue will be "revisited in July during the conference’s football media days and if the league chooses to move forward, Aresco will have to present it to the other Group of 5 leaders" in April '20 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/31).

There hasn't been any discussion into Big 12 expansion since the last three-month dive into the process in '16
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The expiration of TV deals has "triggered college realignment in the past" for several conferences, but Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby "doesn't see the same seismic shifts occurring" when the conference's contract with Fox and ESPN expires in '24-25, according to Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Bowlsby said, "Most of the changes were due to trying to capture cable markets. I think the migration is away from cable markets and toward digital consumption, streaming consumption." Bowlsby "shut down any talk of expansion." That "hasn't been discussed since the last three-month dive into the process" in '16. Still, Bowlsby "sees the possible framework for a long-term conference TV deal in the Big 12." Bowlsby: "Absolutely. But anybody who tells you they know what the media landscape looks like three years from now is delusional." Carlton notes the Big 12 seems to "solidly like where it stands, with 10 members, a football title game, a round-robin schedule and a pending digital network on ESPN+, albeit without Texas and Oklahoma." The conference will "announce revenue distribution Friday that could approach" $40M per school. Bowlsby said, "I like our model better than any other one I see out there" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/31).

The athletic budget is built around the expectation of 25,000 season tickets being sold for football
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Florida State's athletic board approved a $108.07M budget for FY '19-20, up over $1M from the previous year's budget of $106.95M, according to Wayne McGahee III of the TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT. The athletic department's operating revenue is "projected to drop" over $9M to just under $75M from $84M last year. That projection is "due, in large part, to football ticket sales, which are expected to drop" to just under $15M. The athletic budget is "built around the expectation of 25,000 season tickets being sold for football." FSU fans have "already purchased 24,000 season tickets and that number is expected to rise." The school's ACC revenue distribution of $29.7M for FY '17-18 was announced last week. FSU is "expecting that to increase" to $32.1M for FY '19-20 with the addition of the new ACC Network, which starts Aug. 22 (TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, 5/31).