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ACC Grant Of Rights Deal Could End Realignment Madness For A While

shockNow here’s something unexpected…

David Glenn of WCMC-FM in Raleigh — that’s not him at left — is reporting today that the schools of the ACC will soon announce a “unanimous 15 school agreement extending” a grant of media rights to the league office.  If/when such a move occurs, it will likely serve as an emergency brake for the runaway train known as conference realignment.

According to Glenn, who is also the publisher of the ACC Sports Journal at ACCSports.com, the deal is expected to run through the conclusion of the current ACC/ESPN television contract in 2027.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy has confirmed the report through his own ACC sources and David Teel of The Daily Press in Hampton Roads, Virginia has reported that the GOR was distributed to ACC schools three to four weeks ago for their review.

So what does this mean?

 

* It means John Swofford has solidified his Atlantic Coast Conference.  That was a Herculean task with Jim Delany and the Big Ten bearing down on his league.  Kudos to the ACC commish.

* It means that any school attempting to leave the ACC prior to 2027 would have to forfeit its rights (ie: television money) back to the ACC regardless of what league it wound up in.  Not only would the school lose millions upon millions of dollars, but any league looking to add an ACC school would — theoretically — see no real financial reward from bringing in said school.

* It means the Big Ten, Big XII and SEC won’t be making raids for schools such as Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Duke, NC State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, or Miami as many had expected and some had hoped.

 

And before you start wondering, there are already reports that the ACC plans to stand pat at 15 schools (14 full members plus Notre Dame).

Ironically, the last major conference without an official grant of rights deal is the SEC, though with the league buying back most of its schools’ third-tier media rights and rolling them into the league’s new deal with ESPN, it might as well have such a document.  Also, while the Big XII might eye Arkansas or the Big Ten might consider Kentucky or Vanderbilt or finally Missouri, there’s really very little chance of any SEC school leaving.  As Mike Slive is fond of pointing out, the SEC has no exit fee (because no one would ever want out).

So if the Big Ten truly wants to grow into a 16-school league, UConn and Cincinnati remain available.

If the Big XII wants to expand past 10 schools, BYU, Cincinnati, UConn, or other smaller Midwestern/Western schools (such as Boise State) would appear to be the best bets.

For the SEC, it looks as though the league will remain a 14-school league after all, which is exactly what multiple SEC sources have told us the conference was hoping for lo these many turbulent months.  If the ACC’s grant of rights agreement comes about and it is as ironclad as most lawyers believe these types of agreements to be, any SEC move into Virginia or North Carolina won’t occur on Slive’s watch.

And for the average college sports fan who was just praying for an end to the expansion/realignment madness, this shocker of a move should serve as a belated Christmas present.

Big news.

 


39 comments
mowens75
mowens75

Also this is good for Notre Dame. I know most still don't believe they would ever sign on completely to a deal like this (even non football), but the ACC basically told them....Hey we dont' get this done then we go away and then you have 4 super conferences. Notre Dame does not want 4 Super Conferences becuase they will then have to join one. That in turn takes away of off the Irish's power and plus they have to go to a conference they don't want to go too (B1G, Big 12 or Pac 12). They like many know that the east coast is where the population growth seems to be and it's where the Irish wants to be offiliated with. So in the end this is good for the Irish because this keeps the Super Conferences from devoloping and they get to still eat at the big boys table.  

bhoop
bhoop

I think FSU is happy where they are, so long as they can make it financially viable. Supposedly the ACC share is going to grow to over 20 million per school which is very competitive. Their only out seemed to be the BIG12 and as mentioned I think that was only if the ACC imploded. It doesn't appear that any of the other dominoes will fall and yes I think the B1G came out of all this mess the worst. The Big12 actually survived which is a victory, the PAC14 added the Denver market and 2 mountain west time zone schools, the SEC added solid programs and great markets in A&M and Missouri, the ACC added markets and solid brands in Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and to a lesser degree Notre Dame (the 5 game deal is a bit of a coup). The B1G added Rutgers and Maryland? While I'm sure those additions make Penn State happy, as they are now no longer and island surrounded by an expanded ACC, I'm not sure how much value they really bring to the B1G. Sure they scored the tv sets but if you're looking at both on the field and off the field product I think they lost.  

SteveBull
SteveBull

Chip Brown at OrangeBlood has the FSU position on the Grant of Rights covered.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

Say the SEC already had deals with NC & VA (Tech?).  Could those be processed BEFORE this occurred?

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

I think John was 1 of those against expansion.  Seems like most of us posters were in favor of growing to 16.

mowens75
mowens75

So maybe everyone is going after SEC teams now. HA! Just kidding. If this does happen and the expansion craze is over for a little while then I would have to say I'm very dissapointed that the SEC did not get into NC. I would have loved to ended with UNC and Oklahoma. Not sure that was ever possible, but I could always dream.

mowens75
mowens75

well I think it will have to be an ESPN deal with the ACC since they have all the rights to the ACC. I could see the Carolina schools pushing this. Also I'm guessing that Notre Dame will not be a part of this except when they are playings some of the ACC schedule. They did just reup the NBC deal. I still believe that these schools would have to have some type of out before signing. They would be crazy not to have something with the way everything is going.

SteveBull
SteveBull

Living in Charlotte, I have heard various reports that an ACC network is in the works. Don't know how valid those reports are.

mowens75
mowens75

Big news for sure. I'm a little shocked, but maybe something in the GOR gives schools such as Virginia, VTEch and Florida St away out that we don't know about.

DanHogan
DanHogan

Any idea how much money an ACC Network could bring in?  I'm wondering if creating a network brings enough cash to keep everyone home.

I4Bama
I4Bama

I tend to be skeptical of loyalty based on money and mutually assured destruction.  Lots of plea deals tend to arise from such loyalty.  The prenup may be iron-clad, but it guarantees nothing for the marriage.

ezgame
ezgame

@mowens75 Only thing I think the Irish cared about was having Notre Dame win football games?  If Kelly didn't have a really good season, he might've been booted?  But since they went 12-1, Irish got a fat deal from NBC (what I think they wanted all along).  Interesting how Irish announced thier TV deal, and whalla... ACC announces their GOR...  why didn't ACC announce their GOR back in Feb???  Courious.........

Also, Irish just wanted a better home for thier olympic sports, which they got by joining the ACC.  They're probably setting everything on cruise control now?  Sitting back and enjoying the free ride...  all sponsored by the ACC.

ezgame
ezgame

@bhoop Is that "true" happiness, or faked happiness by FSU?  I wonder....  In my experience, sometimes you have to take what you can get.  Knowing its less than what you think you're worth, but better than nothing.  Settling is hard to stomach sometimes?

IMO, I feel each conference is satisfied with what they might've got.  SEC expanded to Texas & Mizzu and has future rolling with SEC Network (winner).  Big10 got MD & Rutgers and more eyeballs for its BTN (slight improvement).  ACC stopped precieved bleeding with the GOR (wash... would be slight improvement if Irish joined fully or announced an ACC Network, but...).  Big12 must be happy with its Champs Bowl vs SEC, and didn't lose Texas or Oklahoma (wash).  PAC didn't get anything this last go-around of expansion (loser).  That's how I'd score it?

uncbare
uncbare

@mowens75 A lot of UNC football first fans would have loved that as well.  Personally, I still love the ACC and want to reach the football mecca in the conference I grew up watching.  Bloom where you're planted.

mowens75
mowens75

@FCDore Yes I'm sure Delaney is a little irritated but not sure he does't have another plan to get ACC schools. I really don't think it was his plan to stop at 14. So it will be interesting to see what happens next. I'm wondering if he's going to regret bringing in Maryland and Rutgers.

ezgame
ezgame

@SteveBull IMO, the ACC needs a network, bad.  Right now they are expecting 17-20M ea (with Irish & Loui).  But with the SEC, PAC, Big12 & Big10 all projecting higher than 25M ea...  envy & greed will force the ACC to move.  Its a good bet an ACC Network will happen.  Timing is my question (and money)?

uncbare
uncbare

@mowens75 If the Big XII has not out, the ACC schools have no out.  Not Virginia, not VT and not FSU.  The conference collectively realized that if 11 of their schools were so desired by other conferences, then they must have something worth holding onto.  They obviously got more money from ESPN as a result of the commitment.  A value to ESPN to pay it because they know what they're buying.  AND, based upon the reactions of presidents and athletic directors, they are clearly going to launch an ACC cable network that will eventually be in homes in the triangle from Boston to Chicago to Miami.  That's at least half of the US population.  The network will take time but they are clearly committed to it and see its value.  Even if it's half o the BTN, the school's are better off.  Probably only 2, and at the most 6 (including ND), would have been ACCeptable to the B1G and those are the schools with deep ACC traditions or, in the case of ND, that really dislike the Big Ten.

ezgame
ezgame

@DanHogan Maybe?  In beginning... ACC Network may add 2-5 mill each???  It'll take time to build up revenue.

My question would be, what if ACC is at 25M ea with its Network... while the SEC, PAC12, Big12 & Big10 are well above 35M ea (same year)?  Will re-alignment talks start again?  Which ACC schools will have wandering eyes?  Will schools start calculating time vs money, like in college... what is minimum final exam grade I need to get a C, B or A in this class?

uncbare
uncbare

@ezgame @mowens75 Fair statement but I wouldn't underestimate the contribution of ND to saving the ACC.  The 5 games a year, the prestige of the brand, the significant commitment (by ND standards) to the conference.  And don't think the ACC Network would be a go with out Irish sports.  That's a game changer.  National fan base.

bhoop
bhoop

@ezgame @bhoop I think what you say could be true to a certain extent. I'm sure many in the FSU athletic dept would prefer the SEC......within the academic ranks they prefer the ACC. Regardless, I think FSU accessed the landscape and knowing that the SEC was not an option it was better to help preserve the ACC and make it as strong as possible. Regardless of what some fans might have clamored for I don't think anyone in a serious position of power at FSU wanted to go to the Big12. 

I think the real danger to the ACC, and thus by extension FSU, was the threat of Virginia and another school leaving for the B1G. Fortunately, for the ACC, Virginia was committed to the ACC. Their athletic dept hasn't been run into the ground like the geniuses at Maryland had done and thus they didn't have to have the extra money that B1G membership would have brought. Virginia is and always has been ACC land and as an original member I think there is a level of loyalty there. At the end of the day I think everyone realized the best thing they could do to protect themselves was to circle the wagons and sign a GOR. Personally, I think it was the right move for all parties. When you start shuffling conferences you're rolling the dice a bit. Sometimes the potential reward is worth the risk (Maryland). Sometimes you haven't a choice (WVU). 

ezgame
ezgame

@mowens75 @FCDore   My guess would be... probably not.  IF...  Big10 can get 70-100M more per year from th Rutgers & MD additions.  I think Big10 will take the money and turn a blind eye?  Opposing fans may b!tch & moan about how Rut & MD are a football drain, but overall... they'll come around?  Every conference has its share of bottom dwellers (some more than others).

As for FCDore... I don't think Delaney cares?  He's probably too busy cranking out money with the BTN, to notice?  Like Slive, its probably a "meh, next agenda item." kinda thing?

uncbare
uncbare

@ezgame @SteveBull I think the Big 12 gets about $20 million per year per school, same as the ACC effective 7/1/13.  The extra $4m to $5m for the Big Twelve is from the Sugar Bowl -  pays $40m to 10 schools vs. $27.5m to 14 schools - and MAYBE some extra cash from Tier 3 rights.

bhoop
bhoop

@ezgame @SteveBull From what I've read out of FSU the prospect of an ACC Network seemed pretty appealing to them. 

uncbare
uncbare

@ezgame @DanHogan You're missing bowl and playoff revenue.  ACC and Big Twelve are very close.  A matter, largely, of dividing by 10 or 14.

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @ezgame@DanHogan Well, everything I read says that no one will be able to leave a conference unless the conference lets them out.  So, no one really has any options on their own.  But....

A lot of the logic going into some of these moves has changed as realignment started and there are a number of moves that haven't really been proven yet.  The Big 12 isn't the mess that it was a few years ago.  WVU is on its own little island with no options for further expansion.  I don't know much about the reaction that Mizzou fans have had to the SEC culture, but maybe Mizzou fans aren't as enamored with the SEC Network as much as other parts of the SEC footprint. 

At the same time, the TV landscape with the SEC and ACC networks (I'm really assuming) is much more different now than it was when the conferences were created.  Maybe someone decides that it doesn't make sense for the ACC to saturate the state of North Carolina when they are still earning at the lower end of the BCS.  

Imagine this scenario:  The SEC Network is a total success across the board except in Missouri.  (1)  Other than their one game that's on the network, MIzzou fans aren't enamoured with Teir 3 SEC football like fans in the deep south are.  (2)  ACC execs looking at their network see that they are bringing in a decent amount of money with their network, but they feel they have too many mouths to feed.  Losing a school in NC would save more money than it lost.  (3) While the case isn't as strong, the same is true for the ACC in Virginia.  (4)  The SEC still has eyes on the state of NC and would love to get more SEC Network revenue there.  (5) BTN would add to their riches in Virginia.  

In this scenario, the ACC could release NC State and UVA from the grant of rights allowing UVA to go to the Big Ten and NC State to go to the SEC.  With the SEC not wanting to expand beyond 14 and the Big Ten perfectly happy at 16, Mizzou is "allowed" to leave the SEC to join the Big Ten.  The SEC and B1G get increased revenue and the ACC saves some cash by splitting the pie into fewer (and larger) pieces. 

Is that scenario likely?  Possible?  Probably not.  But, it does illustrate the only way that any big time moves would happen now -- with everyone on board and everyone being better off.  

uncbare
uncbare

@bhoop @ezgame Perhaps they stepped back and recognized that if   11 of their 15 members (Uva, VT, UNC, Duke, NCSU, Clemson, GT, FSU, Miami and even ND in its present form - apprently the Big 12 wanted to make that deal also - and maybe Uof L)  were so valuable and desired by other conference, maybe they have something worth hanging on to.  Additionally, Pitt, Syracuse and BC open the northeast to the conference.  (Don't anyone say I'm dissing WFU.  I went to undergrad there.)

bhoop
bhoop

@DanHogan @bhoop @mowens75 @SouthernBoiSB Rules have been thrown out the window before but the B1G has had a long standing "rule" that any new member would have to be affiliated with the AAU and be in a contiguous state. With that said, I think UNC would have had to have been packaged with Virginia. 

Again, I think both of those schools, being ACC blue bloods, preferred to stay in a strong ACC if at all possible. I'm not sure how feasible it would have been for Virginia to leave without Virginia Tech having a soft landing and more importantly how UNC could possibly have been separated from Duke. That's why I think them going to the B1G was never realistic. With them not blinking and FSU throwing there lot to the ACC it was a done deal. 

DanHogan
DanHogan

@bhoop @mowens75 @SouthernBoiSB  I suspect the real domino was actually UNC to the B1G with UVA being the obvious #16.  B1G/UVA would not have gone anywhere until another partner was lined up. 

uncbare
uncbare

@SouthernBoiSB @mowens75 Because they realized that their only option was the Big 12 - the SEC doesn't want them (no new markets) and the B1G is leary of their academic (non-AAU) standing.  They probably saw the difficulties faced by WVU in the Big Twelve and said, "no thanks."  The money is about the same between ACC and Big 12 now.  ACC Network would potentially close the remaining gap and have even more upside.

bhoop
bhoop

@mowens75 @SouthernBoiSB I think you hit the nail on the head. The real threat to the ACC (if you believe rampant internet rumors) was Virginia leaving for the B1G. If that happened then possibly all heck would have broken lose. I think at the end of the day all of the schools thought the best thing to do was to circle the wagons and sign a GOR (FSU included). 

mowens75
mowens75

@SouthernBoiSB @mowens75 Yes I'm very suprised that FSU would ever sign this, but maybe they made phone calls and no one was answering. Also I don't think they would ever go to the Big 12 unless ACC went away and they had no choice. 

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

@mowens75 @SouthernBoiSB  

Hince why I wonder why FSU (who didn't agree with the Exit fee) would approve of this.

Not to mention FSU, Clemson, & others are more football than basketball (which the ACC is mostly).  I'm surprised the Big East, the Separate 7 (forgot their name), & the ACC didn't just group up for a bb only conference & let those with fb go elsewhere.

mowens75
mowens75

@SouthernBoiSB @mowens75 OK...I thought I read where the Presidents of all 15 schools had agreed on it. So not signed yet, but will be signed. Apparently something they had for the last several weeks to look over. I wonder how many phone calls went out to other conferences that last several weeks? I bet Slive's and Delany's phones were ringing.

bhoop
bhoop

@ezgame @mowens75 @FCDore I really think the Rutgers & MD additions served multiple purposes. 1. Added television revenue, 2. Give Penn State some eastern partners (the ACC was outflanking them with the additions of Pitt and Syracuse), 3. Possibly destabilize the ACC with thoughts of adding Virginia and possibly UNC or Georgia Tech to provide a southern presence. Looking long term the population growth is in the south and southwest, not to mention most of the top football recruits! 

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