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New ACC Deal Should Hush Rumors Of Teams Leaving

Yesterday the Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN announced a massive extension of their current television agreement that goes a long way toward helping ACC schools keep up with the Joneses of the other power conferences.  After agreeing to a 12-year deal worth $1.86 billion two years ago, the two parties have now extended that contract through the 2026-27 season for a grand total of $3.6 billion.

The deal came as a result of the ACC’s move to nab Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East conference in 2011.  Instead of 12 schools making $12.9 million per year from the old deal, the 14 schools of the new ACC — whenever Pitt and Syracuse arrive — will make an estimated $17.1 million per year.

That $17.1 million per school figure still lags behind the Pac-12′s new deal (about $21 million per school per year), the Big Ten (more than $20 million per) and the new Big 12 television deals announced earlier this week (about $20 million per).  SEC schools have been making about $17 million per year, but Mike Slive’s league is currently negotiating bumps in pay with both ESPN and CBS as a result of Missouri and Texas A&M entering the league.  When the smoke clears, it’s expected the SEC will make more per school than any other conference (either through enhanced deals or the launch of a new SEC network — with ESPN as potential partner — or both).

Overall, however, all of these leagues are now in the same general ballpark (even considering that the ACC has given ESPN its Tier I, II, and III rights).  That fact — as well as the timing of yesterday’s announcement — is being taken as a sign by most that those recent, much-hyped rumors of Clemson and Florida State moving to the Big 12 were in fact baseless.  We wrote as much last week.  It’s unlikely that ESPN would cut and announce new deals with the Big 12 and the ACC within a week’s time if the network thought there was even the remotest chance it would have to tear those deals up and negotiate new ones due to an impending Big 12 raid on the ACC.  A raid to take place before the end of summer according to some websites and many Big 12 supporters on messageboards.

We suspect, however, that those who’ve been behind the Clemson/FSU rumors — as well as those who’ve simply been hoping the rumors are true — will stick to their guns and point to the Tier III dollars lost by the ACC as a “sure” sign that the Tigers and Seminoles will jet from their current league.  And we’re still won’t buy it.

The ACC has a better academic reputation and more money flowing through its current academic partnerships than the Big 12.  Remember, research budgets at most major universities dwarf athletic budgets.  Additionally, we still can’t imagine the presidents at Clemson and FSU being able to sell their fans on traveling to places like Manhattan (Kansas), Lubbock, and Ames over places like Coral Gables, Chapel Hill and Atlanta.  For that matter, what about the parents of recruits?  Think Southern families would want to make longer trips to see their kids play football in a distant conference home?  Texas A&M and Missouri are going east instead of west by joining the SEC.  Clemson and FSU would be jumping an entire region in their move to go even farther west.

While anything’s possible when it comes to realignment and expansion, we at MrSEC.com think the current cycle has pretty much played itself out.  We’ve been saying that for a while now and from the folks we’ve spoken to at multiple SEC institutions, two ACC institutions, and one Big Ten institution… everyone seems to be in agreement.  Any remaining moves are likely to be either small or isolated.  Example: The Big 12 might decide to run at Louisville and another Big East team to max out at 12 schools and host a football championship game.  But with ESPN announcing deals with both the Big 12 and the ACC in the past week, we think that’s less likely as well (for the time being).

ACC commissioner John Swofford immediately put the following spin on his league’s new contract via press release:

 

“We are excited to have further enhanced our partnership with ESPN through the extension of our multimedia contract. We are proud that ESPN has invested so deeply in the ACC both from a resource and exposure standpoint.  As we look to the future, this relationship will be tremendous for our schools, fans, coaches and student-athletes.”

 

He could have just as easily said, “We feel much more stable today than we did yesterday.”  Better still: “We’ve been more stable than a lot of you have thought ever since we invited Pittsburgh and Syracuse to join us last year.”

 


21 comments
louciaccia
louciaccia

The question I'd like from SEC folks is this...IF this did happen, and the Big 12 got Miami and let's say one of GT/VT/MD/LVLLE as well, does that bother you at all to have the Big 12 setting up shop in SEC territory?  Not saying it should, but does it?

 

Does anyone think the SEC might try to preempt that by holding their nose and inviting FSU/Clemson?

big12source
big12source

Want to ask you, you do know that FSU doesn't have an ACC research partner right?

 

http://www.research.fsu.edu/partnerships/

 

And yes, FSU would make about 8 mil more in the Big 12 than ACC. 

Mark
Mark

 @big12source

 And ORAU has EVERY ACC member (those listed below plus Wake Forest, Pitt, and Syracuse).

Mark
Mark

 @big12source

 You might want to take a closer look at the members of the SURA (in the link you provided).  I've found Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, Maryland, UNC, NC State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.  That's every southern school in the ACC except Wake Forest.

Roll Tribe
Roll Tribe

It SHOULD?!?  What Seminoles and Clemson fans have YOU been talking to?

Denotion
Denotion

Nobody is moving from a big 5 conference for 4 years.  The next serious round of negotiations will be when the Big12 TV rights deal expires in 5 years.  Which means the rumors / negotiations start in 4 years.

big12source
big12source

 @Denotion You do realize that when the Big 12 signs this T.V. deal they are giving up their rights for 13 years right?

louciaccia
louciaccia

This contract far from satisfies most FSU and Clemson folks.  $17M is probably at least $8M less than they would earn in the Big 12, and will be far less than their SEC peers.  Just from an FSU and Clemson supporter position, this adds fuel to the discontent.  That doesn't mean that discontent goes to the top or will prompt a move, but this has infuriated FSU and Clemson fans, not eased their frustrations.

 

 

Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump

 @louciaccia 17 + 8 = 25, would you care to show your work?

louciaccia
louciaccia

Obviously, there is plenty of numbers still to come to light.  Nobody expects FSU to move if the numbers don't add up.

 

But it seems extremely plausible to me that the additon of FSU+Clemson (plus maybe Miami+Maryland) plus a Big 12 Championship game would bump from $20M to $24-25M.  That seems pretty realistic to me.  That isn't even considering third-tier rights, which I tend to be conservative at, and figure MAYBE $2M.  Although those could eventually be valuable, FSU has no experience monetizeing those things. 

 

That's also not including the additional distributions from bowl games (ACC bowls are horrible), but more importantly the new BCS and playoffs.  No AQ and no limits on participants from conferences puts the ACC in a bad spot if history is any indication.  It would be difficult to imaging someone from the new Mega-Big 12 missing the playoffs very often, but it's hard to imagine someone from the ACC making it very often.  And if someone from the ACC does, it almost has to be FSU.

 

Not excited about having to carry the conference at the distant fifth place payouts....

big12source
big12source

I would assume he is meaning 17 mil for all three tiers compared with 20-22 mil for tier 1 and 2

 

Now UF makes 10 mil off their Tier 3, KU makes 8-10 mil of Tier 3, so you would think FSU could make 5-10 mil off tier 3

 

Meaning 3 mil just off the jump, and then 5 more at least off of Tier 3 rights

Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump

 @big12source Tier 3 is most valuable to non football sports. Look at the top schools in Tier 3 revenue and they all have secondary sports that draw viewer demand. KU and UK make close to 10 million BECAUSE they have basketball! LSU makes almost 10 million on their baseball. For simplicity sake think of the SEC west as baseball programming and the SEC east as basketball programming. If FSU and Clemson don't have solid secondary sports, and a conference that watches them, how will you grow your Tier 3?

 

Look at the B12 top to bottom and they have no broad support for year around sports. Once you get past Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas there is nothing! The other 4 conferences have multiple successful schools, in multiple sports across the entire year. That is the programming I can get when I turn on ESPN there is some school somewhere playing something I can watch in the downtime between football.

Roll Tribe
Roll Tribe

I believe Lou is referring to the fact that the Big XII just verbally agreed to a deal (to be signed today, I believe) that already gives each of the Big XII teams $20 million a year for Tier 1 and 2 rights.  There is supposedly a clause that ups the payout by $2 million per team if certain teams are added in pairs.  Therefore, if FSU and Clemson are added, that would probably increase payout to $24 million per team.  While the ACC deal is $17 million for tiers 1, 2, and 3, the Big XII leaves 3rd tier rights to be shopped by the individual universities.  Some people claim the Texas and Florida are able to bring in an addition $10 million a year on their 3rd-tier rights, implying the Seminoles could bring in between $6-$10 million on third-tier.  Most rational Seminoles fans are more conservative and realistic in our numbers and say that it would probably be closer to $3 - $5 million.  Therefore, that sets us at around or above the $25 million mark.   

Roll Tribe
Roll Tribe

Sure, the Big 12 deal IS admittedly speculative, as is the argument of "how much will they lose if they leave the ACC?"  The whole argument is based on "ifs."  Sure, it is a possibility that all of those rivalries could be lost.  Unlikely, I would say.  Part of the rumor involved FSU wanting Miami to go to the Big XII as well, with some saying that the BIG XII would concede that in order to get FSU.  If that is true, then obviously they still keep Miami.  

 

What if UF doesn't schedule them in any sport (I list this one set of teams, but it applies to all SEC vs ACC rival scenarios)?  Why would any of them do that?  Granted the SEC or Big XII could go to nine conference games.  So what?  To my knowledge, it seems that most rivalries that are being lost so far involve two teams who were conference partners who no longer will be, and probably in the case of Texas and aTm, there is most likely some spite involved.  

 

Can't exactly compare conference rivalries with non-conference rivalries.  Why would these SEC teams cancels their non-conference rivals?  Spite?  "Well, it turns out that in fact, yes, there was a gentlemen's agreement to block your schools from admission into the SEC (I have no idea if that's true), which we did, but since you ended up in a better situation than you were in anyway, we're going to stop playing you."  Okay.  If that's the reasoning, they can go fornicate themselves.  They'd lose out just as well.  

 

If the ACC no longer schedules them for any sport?  Why in the hell would they still want games scheduled against the ACC?  

 

Recruiting?  FSU recruited out-of-state quite well in their independent years throughout the '70s, '80s, and early '90s.  They haven't been in a conference with a team from Texas, but they've recruited Texas quite well.  California as well.  They recruited Georgia well before being in the ACC with GT.  

 

Perhaps UNC and Duke are wolves in sheeps clothing.  Perhaps UT and OU are the same.  Still a better situation without a conference commissioner in the corner of the wolves.    

 

Thrown to the lions of UT and OU?  Please.  I realize any of the mighty SEC teams could hang in the lesser Big XII, because if they can compete in the SEC, they can handle UT and OU, but not FSU.  We've heard that before.  As a Florida Gator quarterback, a young Steve Spurrier and his Gators - who had always had much success against FSU in it's infancy - wore stickers on their helmets in the mid-'60s that said, "Never, FSU, never."  How'd that work out for him?

 

 

Do I see the lesser Big XII teams selling more tickets than the lesser ACC teams?  Well, back to speculation here, but if the way many of the rumors put it, an Eastern Division will be created within the Big XII.  This could potentially be FSU, Clemson, West Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech, and Louisville.  I feel comfortable that UF would continue to be a rivalry, and the rumors also state that Texas would be FSU's permanent cross-divisional rival, and OU as Clemson's, then yes, if it is anything remotely close to that, I'd say it beats Wake, Boston College, NC State, Duke, Virginia, etc., every day of the week.  

 

My only real question is, a ton of the fans of the teams it really effects view this as a very positive possibility.  The nay-sayers all seem to be SEC fans and fans of ACC teams not in the discussion.  Wonder why that is?

Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump

 @Roll Tribe In the last go round the Big 12 got front loaded for a game they were not playing to keep the Big 12 together. As they say, the devil is in the details, and until the deal is signed we do not know what is in the terms of the deal. The rest is speculation, but this is how I envisioned it before :

 

Big 12 with 10 = 19 million per team = 190 million per year

Big 12 with 12 = 20 million per team = 240 million per year (with UL + UC + CCG included)

Big 12 with 12 = 21 million per team = 252 million per year (with CU + FSU+ CCG included)

 

The problem with Tier 3, is the value is based on non football revenue. Miami has 4 CWS, and USC has 2 CWS. In addition the Gators have 2 NCAA banners from MCBB. Clemson and Florida State have none in either category, so their Tier 3 is more limited. The bigger issue is what loss will Clemson and Florida State incur if they leave the ACC?

 

How much will they lose if USC no longer schedules them in any sport?

How much will they lose if UGA no longer schedules them in any sport?

How much will they lose if AU no longer schedules them in any sport?

How much will they lose if UF no longer schedules them in any sport?

How much will they lose if the ACC no longer schedules them in any sport?

 

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction :

 

UF cancels FSU and goes exclusively with UM as their SEC vs ACC opponent

USC cancels CU and goes exclusively with UNC as their SEC vs ACC opponent

 

While you can say it will never happen, just look at Kansas vs Missouri, Texas vs TAMU, Oklahoma vs Nebraska, and others as proof that no rivals are safe. No more trips to Atlanta means no more recruiting Georgia. No more trips to NC, VA, and MD means losing visibility in those states as well. The ACC and SEC are tied at the hip via ESPN so it is not difficult to see all those destination gone as they fill their schedule with media friendly schools. The problem with where CU and FSU are located there are plenty of other ACC schools next door to take their place. Sure the old folks will grumble, but we are in the age of Xbox and Twitter now. Stripped of all that and thrown to the lions of UT and OU means in a few short years you will just be another Iowa State or Texas Tech. Do you see the lesser Big 12 schools selling tickets any better than the lesser ACC schools in a few years after the newness has worn off?

 

Maybe I am cautious by nature but if you think UNC and Duke were wolves in sheep's clothing, UT and OU are more like polar bears wearing baby seal clothes. The fact that 4 goods schools are gone should be the first clue!

Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump

John,

 

Honest answer is I pegged the new ACC deal at 17M, and there it is. I pegged the new Big 12 at 19M-21M and we will see when it is signed, and the terms come out in the press. The PAC has an uncontested monopoly for their 21M and the ACC has to battle the Big East, B1G, and SEC in their footprints. What I do not get is all these folks saying the Big 12 will get 30M? And 2-3 million per school for a CCG? Without Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska to anchor the North what happens when WVU wins and the game is played in Dallas? Between 1996 and 2010 Nebraska (6) , Colorado (4) , and Missouri (2) were the North opponent 80% of the time - Kansas State had the other 3. If WVU does not travel well, Louisville and Cincinnati probably travel worse. Not sure if a half empty JerryWorld will play well on TV. I am guessing a B12 CCG should be worth a million, but what if the teams playing can not fill it? Baylor vs West Virginia could be a repeat of those Boston College vs Virginia Tech games that drew 53K in 07 and 27K in 08. if the likes of Boston College and Wake Forest are representing, and Virginia Tech is winning the ACC CCG, it seems like the first order of business is for Clemson and Florida State to start dominating their own CCG before they run off and play in the Big 12's.

 

All these folks fanning the rumor mills keep spouting fantastic numbers based on the B1G / PAC / SEC, yet none of the remaining rumor mongers ever seem to have valid financial links or official links to the schools. The drivers are coming out of Austin and Waco before landing in Morgantown on their way to Clemson and Tallahassee. It is like the telephone game children play and just as accurate. Notre Dame and BYU have turned the B12 down so I guess Clemson and Florida State are this seasons speculation. With 3 states and a part of Texas gone this fall I look for a drop in ratings and average attendance for Big 12 games this fall. Why would ESPN of FOX pay more for less? None of these rumor bloggers seem to have a legitimate answer for that one.

 

In the ACC / Big 12 they are never going to get B1G / SEC type dollars so where are these fantastic sums of 30M - 40M that even the SEC2ndtiertobig12 blogger below implies? In deference to our new brothers from the show me state, show me the money!

SEC2ndtier tobig12
SEC2ndtier tobig12

One very important fact that was left out.. If the Big 12 expands back to 12 teams or goes to 14 the new deal increases to almost 30 mil per team. FSU is in financial trouble and they need the cash. After That would put the acc almost 10 mill behind the big 12, and after the sec gets it's new deal, should be close to 30 mil, the acc will not hold on to FSU and Clemson.

sherwood1
sherwood1

 @SEC2ndtier tobig12 But in Academics the ACC would be first tier and that's a lot more research money, the schools would be crazy to move away from the likes of Duke, UNC and Clemson to schools like Kansas, Kansas State and OK State and WVU. No way their Governing Board would allow that move.

SEC23
SEC23

You do realize that the SEC has a clause in their ESPN contract stating that they cannot start a university ownership type network (like the Big Ten Network). 

 

Can someone explain to me why ESPN is just going to look the other way on that clause?  It would directly contradict what is in the best interests of the ESPN mothership.

 

I could see ESPN starting an SEC network perhaps, but it won't be university owned like the BTN is.

jt16
jt16

Because ESPN pretty much has locked out every other network in college athletics.  It won't risk isolating the most desirable conference around by not negotiating aggressively.  All the "overpaying" ESPN/ABC is doing with the Big 12/ACC won't matter much if they chase the SEC away in the future to say NBC or Fox. 

MoKelly
MoKelly

If that clause exists, it can be eliminated in any renegotiation of a new or expanded deal. Its all part of the overall negotiation on how much of the HUGE $$$ pie is shared between ESPN and the Conferences.

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