ACC schools agree to grant TV rights to league
By AARON BEARD
The Associated Press | April 23,2013
The Atlantic Coast Conference presidents have agreed for the league to retain media rights for a school that leaves the conference.
The league said Monday each of the current and future schools has signed the deal, which is effective immediately.
The grant of rights would appear to make the league more stable by essentially locking all 15 schools into the ACC through the length of a TV deal, including eventual new arrivals Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville.
Awarding control of those TV rights — and, more importantly, the money that comes with them — to the league means that a school would have to leave its TV rights behind if it chose to go elsewhere.
Those rights would stay with the ACC, meaning the departing school wouldn’t bring any added TV value to a new league’s broadcast package and make it a less-desirable target for realignment purposes.
The ACC is the fourth major conference to approve a grant of TV rights, joining the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12.
“This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well-positioned with unlimited potential.”
The move, first reported by The ACC Sports Journal, would be a promising sign of stability for the ACC, which had been besieged by rumors that some of its highest-profile members might consider following Maryland out the door and jumping leagues.
Its existing TV deal with ESPN runs through the 2026-27 season, though the sides are updating that agreement due to expansion and the league is researching the creation of an ACC TV channel.
Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said the decision “secures the ACC’s future, and thus Duke’s, for years to come.”
“It is one of the great days in the history of our conference as it shows the highest level of commitment — not by words, but by actions,” Krzyzewski said Monday in a statement.
Bubba Cunningham, the athletic director at North Carolina, said the grant of rights “should put (conference) realignment on the shelf.”
“These are strong and definitive moves by the ACC and its member schools to further announce our desire to stay together and position ourselves among the top conferences in the country,” Cunningham said in a statement. “We look forward to continued talks with the ACC and ESPN on how to best strengthen and position our multi-media package.”
The league will add Pittsburgh and Syracuse in all sports this summer, while Notre Dame will join in all league sports except football. Louisville will replace Maryland in 2014.
“The added resources coming to the ACC schools will have a significant impact on the success of our athletic programs,” Florida State president Eric J. Barron said in a statement. “We are also very pleased that we will be moving forward on the next phase of developing an ACC network. The vote of the ACC presidents will ensure that the conference will strengthen its position of leadership among Division I athletics.”
The league had also twice raised its exit fee during recent waves of realignment, first to $20 million in September 2011 when it announced the additions of Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East.
A year later, when the league said it would add Notre Dame, the league said it had increased the fees to three times the league’s annual operation budget — which amounted to more than $52.2 million when Maryland announced two months later that it planned to leave for the Big Ten.
The ACC is currently suing Maryland for payment of that exit fee.
When Louisville replaces Maryland in 2014, the ACC will add a program that won the NCAA men’s basketball title, reached the NCAA women’s basketball final and won the Sugar Bowl this season in exchange for a school that hasn’t been to a bowl game or reached the NCAA men’s basketball tournament since 2010.
AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.