What could a restructured ESPN ACC rights deal look like? - SCACCHoops.com

What could a restructured ESPN ACC rights deal look like?

by Jfann

Posted: 8/3/2022 5:45:17 AM

An actual story continues to simmer under the surface of realignment twitter land. ESPN and the ACC may be looking at a restructured media rights deal.

The UNC Chancellor hinted at this in early July. 

“I’m optimistic we’re gonna get a better contract,” he said. “I think ESPN recognizes the importance of a strong ACC, which it really is. It’s an incredibly strong conference.

The Louisville AD also talked about this a couple of weeks ago.

“I think that they understand that the ACC has to be extremely healthy for college athletics to be successful,” Heird said of ESPN. “And so I think they do feel an obligation to make sure that transpires.

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips also talked about this at the ACC Media Days. 

Everything is on the table,” Phillips said. “We’re looking at our TV contract. We’re in engagement almost daily with our partners at ESPN. We’ve come together to have some discussions about what would be the next iteration for the ACC.

Now, Phillips, had this say in a recent NewsOberserver article.  It’s behind a paywall, but here is an interesting quote from that article.

Phillips said there’s a willingness in Bristol to meet the ACC halfway, and as much as ESPN has put its chips on the SEC, it’s also an equal financial partner in the ACC Network — invested not only in its success but the long-term health of the league.”

This is from ESPN Reporter David Hale.

I’m not really how sure much more can be said to indicate something is potentially in the works between the ACC and ESPN. Don’t think ESPN doesn’t have reasons to work with the ACC for a minute either.

What we don’t know is how this could look, and what are some options.

1. Expansion

The prevailing thought is that very few programs would add value to the ACC’s current media rights deal. Well if the Big 10 can go West, why can’t the ACC? Oregon and Washington are still out there and add Stanford and Cal. I have no problem with that. What about West Virginia, and Cincinnati If the ACC’s base media deal is so bad, how can one of these moves not add value?

2. TV Merger

The Pac 12 and ACC TV Merger was thrown out there about a month ago. This included utilizing the ACC Network for West Coast games – gaining additional subscribers, along with scheduling agreements between the two conferences.

3. Conference Mergers

Could ESPN orchestrate the actual merger of the ACC to the Pac 12, or the Big 12, or both creating an over 30-team conference? I think this idea could be a stretch, as logistically it could be a nightmare but there are crazier ideas out there

4. Scheduling

The ACC plays 8 conference games and there is an agreement with Notre Dame. Maybe ESPN can squeeze another game out Notre Dame with the ACC? ESPN could push the ACC towards 9 conference games, or limit OOC games to only 1 game outside a select group of conferences. I mean look at Virginia’s OOC schedule this year of Richmond, Illinois, Old Dominion, and Coastal Carolina. Outside of Illinois, 2 of those games could be replaced by higher-profile matchups.

5. Goodwill

LOL –  ESPN never does anything out of goodwill.


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