I don’t think anyone will argue that the upcoming deal is very important to the future of the ACC, but I believe it’s more than just important. It might just mean entire future of the ACC as we currently know it.
How did I come to this conclusion? Well, recently I had a lively conversation with 3 of the of the better Florida State fans you’ll find out there in twitter space, @mikebonfanti, @NoleFan86, and @saintwarrick that got me thinking about this.
Florida State is an interesting case when it comes to the ACC. They have been a conference member since the early 90s, and they are also arguably the biggest national brand when it comes to football in the ACC. We all know as much as we’d enjoy the ACC again becoming the premier basketball league in the country it’s football that drives the bus, and the Seminoles have the fanbase, tradition, and recruiting ability to compete consistently at a level that most ACC teams simply can’t.
With that said, Florida State resides in region where the SEC dominates. We know the resources the SEC has due in large part to their sizeable TV contract. Florida State is an attractive name with a large
following. Their fans don’t want to fall behind in the arms race to the nearby SEC schools. That is what makes the upcoming TV contract so critical not only the Seminoles but to the rest of the SEC.
We had some back and forth discussion about the Noles and possibility of a move to the Big 12. While I personally think the Big 12 has done an outstanding job or regrouping following their near collapse last season. That’s still too recent for my tastes to feel that conference won’t have a future issue.
Next we talked about SEC’s enormous pull, and certainly that’s hard to argue, but my impression is that Florida State doesn’t really to leave the ACC, nor does anyone want them to leave. That said and we all agreed on this, the TV deal is the key. The ACC’s current deal pays each team roughly $13 million a year. Some have suggested with the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh that would increase this by $1 or $2 million a year.
The Pac 12 and Big 12 are at nearly $21 million. The SEC is at $17 Million, but that is sure to go up into I believe the $24-$27 Million range with Missouri and Texas A&M recently joining. The SEC would nearly double the ACC’s payout, and that’s going to make in particular the football centric schools very uneasy. Who knows what happens then, it may be open season on the ACC.
The ACC doesn’t need to be highest paid conference, not that it’s possible anyways, but they do need a competitive deal. I don’t believe a $1 or 2 Million increase does that. I would like to see the conference get into the $16-$18 Million range, anything more is just a bonus. Our discussion never got into numbers other than @NoleFan86 saying the smaller increase would not sit well with him, and I tend to agree. The ACC would just be too far behind the other major conferences. The Pittsburgh and Syracuse additions were good moves by John Swofford so that the TV deal could be renegotiated. If he produces a strong TV deal he would ensure the conferences stability for years to come, if not as I said who knows what will happen.