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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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ACC Being Strategic About Bridging Revenue Gap With Big Ten, SEC

  • The ACC recognizes it can't become equal with the Big Ten or SEC overnight.
  • ESPN is currently paying the conference $240 million in media rights annually through 2036.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC is taking a measured approach to financially compete with the Big Ten and SEC.

At the conference’s football media days in Charlotte on Tuesday, ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said that rather than expect an immediate fix, trying to narrow the per-school revenue gap to $10 million to $15 million is the “right approach.” 

With new media deals kicking in for the Big Ten this year ($1.15 billion annually) and the SEC next year ($710 million annually), the ACC’s long-term $240 million annual deal with ESPN puts the conference a distant third through 2036. The Big 12 is brining in $200 million a year from Fox and ESPN through 2025.

“Third is certainly a good position,” Phillips said. “But we want to gain and gain traction financially in order to close the gap.”

Phillips acknowledged the ESPN layoffs in explaining why the ACC can’t expect an instant increase in rights fees. “They understand the volatility that there is,” he said. “But they also are looking to grow financially based on some of their recent events.”

The conference doesn’t have a specific revenue target in mind, but it’s “trying to bridge” the gap as far as it can, Phillips said. In 2024, the ACC will have a new revenue distribution model to reward teams for better postseason performance.

Phillips explained that the ACC has added the CW in an effort to “be visible in all of the regions that our schools are” across the country. It’s unclear how much the CW is paying for the rights to 13 football games and 37 basketball games each year through 2027.

Something Brewing?

And there could be more ACC news soon. “We have some other things that we’re working on I can’t address with this group right now, that are pretty exciting to try to address that revenue gap,” Phillips said.

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