ACC’s new television deal levels playing field

Atlantic Coast Conference commissionerJohn Swofford. File/AP

CLEMSON - The Atlantic Coast Conference announced a new 15-year television agreement with ESPN and ABC on Wednesday, a deal closing the divide in media dollars between the ACC and other power conferences.

The Sports Business Journal reports the deal is worth $3.6 billion. The agreement will keep the ACC on ESPN and ABC through the 2026-27 school year.

The new deal will pay each ACC member $17.1 million per year on average, an increase of $4 million per year from the $1.86 billion deal the conference signed with ESPN and ABC in 2010.

The ACC’s decision to bring Syracuse and Pittsburgh into the conference last year allowed the conference to renegotiate its television deal with ESPN and ABC. Television rights fees have grown exponentially since the SEC signed a six-year, $85 million deal with CBS in 1996.

The ACC deal goes into effect July 1.

“We are excited to have further enhanced our partnership with ESPN through the extension of our multimedia contract,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a release. “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.”

Reopening talks was critical for the ACC as the conference has fallen behind other power conferences in terms of television revenue.

The Pac-12 signed a $3 billion dollar television deal last year and the Big 12 announced a $2.6 billion dollar media rights deal with ESPN and FOX earlier this week. Programs in each of those conferences will earn $20 million per year under their new deals.

The Big Ten has its own network and deals with ABC and ESPN netting each conference member more than $20 million last season.

The SEC signed landmark deals in 2008 with ESPN and CBS worth $3 billion over 15 years, though that deal is also expected to be renegotiated after the SEC added Texas A&M and Missouri last year.

The ACC will continue to have football games nationally televised on ESPN on Saturdays and Thursday nights. The ACC will also have nationally televised football games on three Fridays and Labor Day.

The conference’s planned increase to 18 league games in men’s basketball will bring an increase of 30 conference men’s basketball games per year and two more conference tournament games. In football, 14 more conference games will be televised each year.