ACC lands a monster TV deal

ESPN gets rights for 12 years

Staff writerJuly 9, 2010 

If you can find enough spare time, the ACC and ESPN want to put about 5,000 things on your agenda during the next 12 years.

That's roughly the number of ACC sporting events expected to be televised from 2011-12 through 2022-23 by the TV company's cluster of outlets that includes ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3.com and ESPN International among others.

During an hour-long news conference to announce the all-sports deal on Thursday, ACC commissioner John Swofford and ESPN vice president John Skipper would not reveal financial arrangements.

Various reports have put the total at $1.86 billion over the duration of the deal. Swofford called "accurate" the figure he had seen reported during the past several weeks.

Swofford did say the money from ESPN would "more than double" the television income for the 12 ACC schools from the various contracts that expire at the end of the current school year. That would be about $13 million per school per year.

"This is a terrific day for the ACC," Swofford said.

While the key commodities are men's basketball and football, Swofford and Skipper said some events in all 25 of the league's sanctioned sports will be televised during the course of the pact.

"This is the first time ESPN did an all-in deal to acquire all of [a league's sports rights]," said Skipper, a North Carolina graduate.

Specifically, Swofford said all games in the league's increasingly popular baseball tournament will be available through one of the ESPN outlets.

Swofford also said the contract will make it possible for ESPN to continue the league's long association with Charlotte's Raycom Sports production company to air some events.

Other items of interest:

Sunday men's basketball: Swofford said the 10-year series with Fox would go to ESPNU with games starting generally between 2 and 6 p.m. Some of the Fox games began as late as 8 p.m.

Swofford said fans had expressed interest in early starting times on Sunday.

Regional football syndication: Raycom will continue to produce the package, but starting times will move from about 12:15 to 12:30 on Saturday afternoons.

Conference membership: Any change up or down in the number of league members would lead to renegotiation with ESPN. Skipper said the same provision is included in ESPN contracts with 30 other conferences.

Market blackouts: Blocking ESPN telecasts of certain league men's basketball events will end with the inception of the contract.

Non-league road games: The contract with ESPN pertains only to ACC home games in all sports, other than the ongoing ACC-Big Ten Challenge men's basketball series.

The host team almost always has telecast rights. But since ESPN is so heavily involved with all conferences, it'll be relatively rare that ACC road games in football and basketball wind up on other channels.

caulton.tudor@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8946

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