ACC, ESPN Strike 15-Year, $3.6 Billion Deal

The contract extension through 2027 comes ahead of the planned additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East and would represent a 33% increase in TV money for each league school from the previous deal unveiled nearly two years ago.
Associated Press,

For the Atlantic Coast Conference, more teams and more games means a lot more TV money.

The ACC and ESPN have extended their television deal through the 2026-27 season. A person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press that it's worth $3.6 billion over the 15 years. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because financial terms weren't released when the two sides announced the deal Wednesday.

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The deal comes ahead of the planned additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East and would represent a 33-percent increase in TV money for each league school from the previous deal unveiled nearly two years ago.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said the deal was "another step forward" for the league and "certainly bodes well in terms of our future."

"One of the things you try to do at the league level is help give the schools as many resources, tangible and intangible, as is possible to help them reach their competitive goals," Swofford said in a phone interview, "and certainly this is a major step in doing that."

The deal gives ESPN title sponsorship rights beyond football to the ACC's other championships, including men's and women's basketball. Those sponsorship deals are subject to the ACC's approval.

Brand Connections

The extension comes eight months after the ACC announced it would add Pitt and Syracuse, though it remains unclear exactly when those schools will leave the Big East and begin play in the ACC. It also comes as the league moves to an 18-game schedule in men's and women's basketball despite having just 12 teams next season.

Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, said the network liked the combination of more teams and more league games instead of lower-profile nonconference matchups.

Adding Syracuse and Pittsburgh will "help bolster ACC basketball, which is already at the top of the food chain," Magnus said. "They get more out of basketball in terms of value than most conferences do."

The extension offers a significant increase in TV money for each ACC school from the previous deal announced in July 2010 for the 12-team league. That 12-year deal was worth $1.86 billion with an average of more than $12.9 million for league schools annually.

The extension ups that amount to an average of about $17.1 million for each of the 14 schools annually.

The agreement also gives ESPN the right to televise three Friday night football games per season. That includes a commitment from Boston College and Syracuse to each host one game, plus an afternoon or evening game on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Magnus said the network was going to "dip our toe in the water" with the Friday ACC football games, but added, "We have no intention of dragging people kicking and screaming into Friday."

The deal includes televising the ACC football championship game as well as regular-season and tournament or championship games in men's and women's basketball, and Olympic sports. The network would continue to carry content across its broadcast and online platforms, as well as through its partnership with ABC.

ESPN would continue its syndication partnership with Raycom Sports, maintaining Raycom's long-running regional broadcasting relationship with the league.

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 29, 2016
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Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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