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Adding Cal, Stanford Could Entice ESPN To Increase ACC Rights Deal

  • ACC leaders have been meeting to discuss what adding Cal and Stanford would look like.
  • The addition of two more teams would grow the ACC to 16 teams and another time zone.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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The ACC is considering capitalizing on the increasingly fluid reality of conference realignment by entertaining the idea of adding the University of California and Stanford — a move which could give the conference leverage when it comes to its media rights.

Presidents from the ACC reportedly met on Tuesday morning after conference athletic directors did the same on Monday. No votes have been taken, and it’s unclear if Cal and Stanford would apply for ACC membership or accept an invite to join. Cal’s board of regents also met on Tuesday morning to discuss the school’s athletic future.

Adding two more schools in the Pacific time zone could help the ACC push its media rights partner ESPN to renegotiate its current, financially modest deal — one that is pushing schools like Florida State to consider leaving. There’s no guarantee ESPN would oblige, but the ability to fill late-night broadcast windows with Cal and Stanford home games could help replace slots vacated by the network’s expiring Pac-12 deal. 

However, ESPN is also a broadcast partner of the Big 12, which is adding western schools in Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah.

Kliavkoff Here To Stay

Amid the Pac-12’s turmoil, conference commissioner George Kliavkoff says he has no plans to step down. “I’m loyal to a fault (and probably to my personal detriment),” he told the San Jose Mercury News, noting he’s committed to what he described as “a lot of work ahead.” 

Kliavkoff reportedly makes $3.5 million a year and has three years remaining on his contract. “Had plenty of chances to leave over the past two years when the breadth of the challenges were already obvious,” he added. “And [I] decided to stick it out and try to do the best I could.”

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