What the ACC's new TV deal means
The ACC and ESPN announced a revised TV deal today. It extends and enriches the current deal until 2027. This was overdue since the market has shifted in the two years since the ACC and ESPN last signed. In 2010, the ACC's deal was second only to the SEC. Since then the Big Ten and Pac 12 received monster deals and the Big 12 is also expected to sign a huge deal. One of the big reasons the Conference added Syracuse and Pitt was to trigger a clause that allowed for renegotiation. Under the new deal each team will receive $17 million annually. Here are the big (and somewhat expected) changes:
Friday Night Lights I've been saying for a long time that this was coming. Not only will the ACC be playing on Friday nights, but BC will be at the center piece of this. Why? Because it makes too much sense not to play in those games. The WAC and Big East have been playing on Fridays for at least five years now and getting big ratings. With the NFL invading Thursdays and with the Pac 12 and SEC willing to play on Thursdays, Friday is now one of the lone spots where the ACC can get true national attention. The argument against playing Fridays is that the coaches lose a chance to watch high school games and that it is tough to fill your stadiums. I think the branding tradeoff is worth it for BC. Maybe we can even turn Friday nights into events and extend tailgating hours.
Under the deal, BC will host a game annually on a Friday. Syracuse will also host a annual Friday game too. Plus the conference committed an annual game on the Friday after Thanksgiving. So in some years BC could be playing in as many as three Friday games (at home, at Syracuse and at another ACC team on Thanksgiving weekend).
18-game basketball schedule The ACC already announced this plan, but now ESPN is officially paying a premium for the extra two conference games. The extra games help our wallet and RPI ratings but hurt scheduling flexibility. We will see fewer non-conference games.
A place at the table This is not in the contract but implied in the deal. Right now the ACC is the only major conference that has all of its media rights tied to ESPN. ESPN will be a driving factor in the evolving bowl and playoff scenarios. There is no way they are going to devalue all this ACC inventory by have the ACC shunned from the championships. If automatic qualifiers are part of the playoff, the ACC will be included.
I would prefer that the ACC had its own outlet like the other conferences. Being so aligned with ESPN limits some cool opportunities, but it is a great insurance policy. This deal offers short-term cash and stability and will probably be adjusted within the next five years.