How the ACC can damper the Big East TV plans
The Big East is bluffing. They used their media meetings to make is sound like they are sitting on a potential windfall in TV money. Of course very few in the media questioned the logic nor the laughable idea that BC and Maryland might move for more money. But the Big East does have an impact on the ACC. We compete for TV timeslots and perception. If the ACC wants more money and to lock in the best time slots with ESPN (and hurt the Big East's leverage), they have an unplayed trump card -- a 9th regular season game.
The 9th ACC games provides ESPN with more valuable content. Plus, if I understand it correctly, it would allow the conference to reopen the current deal. In addition to the money a smart deal would require that a high percentage of the 9th games get carried on ESPN or ESPN 2. By doing that ESPN would have less room for any potential Big East games. And they certainly wouldn't go paying a premium for them. With fewer bidders, the Big East's deal with Versus/NBC Cable or Fox would be less lucrative.
Now the downside of the 9th game is tougher schedules. But the Pac 12 currently plays nine games and the Big Ten is moving that way. I think most ACC schools would be willing to take on the added conference game in exchange for more money. Plus it would help ticket sales and the struggle to find valid and profitable non-conference games.
Look for the 9th game discussion to continue for the next 12 months as the ACC tries to figure out how to play catch up with the other conferences and not get bypassed by the Big East.
Labels: ACC TV deals