By The Numbers: ACC Could Benefit From Network
By Eric Russell
It was inevitable that after the SEC announce the launch of its new network in 2014 the rumors of a potential ACC network would resurface. The first mention of an ACC network came back in November when ACC commissioner John Swofford said the conference and ESPN were in talks about a network.
Swofford has started the rumor mill up again. SportsBusiness Daily reported that the conference feels confident about the potential to get network talk up and running again.
The site quoted Swofford as saying he felt the conference's strong television market puts them in a good spot.
"We're now in a position to accelerate talks with ESPN, which were already ongoing, about a network," Swofford said in the report.
A potential network would do several positive things for the conference financially, as it has for other conferences.
The league already increased each school's revenue from about $13 million to $17.1 million last year when ESPN renegotiated the TV deal with the conference. However, the ACC and SEC were still the bottom-dwellers in terms of per-school average when it comes to TV revenue. If the ACC had its own network they could increase that figure substantially. Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 schools each got about $20 million from television revenue last season.
Look no further than the Big Ten for a better glance at what a network could potentially do for the ACC. The Big Ten announced this week that the conference's payouts to member schools are going to reach a record high this year.
Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the total payouts to Big Ten schools will be $25.7 million. The total includes a handsome $7.6 million from the Big Ten Network. This year's figures brings the total each school has received from the network during its six years of existence to $40 million.
Some early figures projected by USA Today say the SEC Network could boost revenue to $400 million total. That would be an increase of $130 million from the previous year. The increase would work out to $28.5 million per conference school. With figures like that it only makes sense that the ACC takes the leap next.
Let's say the ACC were to see similar growth to that projected for the SEC — the ACC was already generating about $293 million in revenue last season according to figures by ESPN. An increase to $400 million would mean $26.6 million per school in the 15-member conference. That is without factoring in the Notre Dame football situation.
While the addition of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville and Notre Dame will be a big help in the talks, one unique aspect about the potential revenue a network could make the conference is the football split. The conference wouldn't have to share the football revenue with Notre Dame, who is independent and has its own television deal with NBC.
The SEC has already made the move to get from the bottom of the TV revenue standings amongst the big conferences. The ACC has to be next, all signs point to the ACC and SEC Networks being even bigger than the networks that already exist.