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UNC, Duke, NC State receive nearly $27 million cut of ACC revenue

An announcement regarding a new ESPN deal could come as soon as the ACC’s football kickoff event in Charlotte on Thursday and Friday, where ACC commissioner John Swofford is scheduled to meet with the media Thursday morning.
An announcement regarding a new ESPN deal could come as soon as the ACC’s football kickoff event in Charlotte on Thursday and Friday, where ACC commissioner John Swofford is scheduled to meet with the media Thursday morning. AP

The ACC generated more revenue than ever during the 2014-15 fiscal year, and so its schools received more money than ever from the conference office.

On average, the ACC's 14 full-time members received $26.2 million from the conference office during the 2014-15 fiscal year, which runs annually from July 1-June 30. Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State received nearly $27 million, an increase of about $10 million from what it received from the ACC for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

All ACC schools, with the exception of part-time member Notre Dame, received roughly the same share of revenue.

The numbers are included in the ACC's annual tax return, which it makes public as a non-profit entity that is exempt from paying income tax. UNC and the ACC's other full-time members are undoubtedly benefiting financially from the ACC's record financial growth.

Still, though, the Big Ten and SEC remain the richest college athletic conferences. Those conferences during the 2014-15 fiscal year distributed more than $32 million to each of its schools that received a full share of revenue (all except Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers in the Big Ten).

The huge financial growth of college sports over the past decade or so – and even before that – has been well documented but the numbers between 2012 and 2015 go to show just how crazy the money has become in major college sports. And it continues to trend up and up.

Is there any end in sight to the incredible financial growth? It doesn't seem like it.

The trends are especially encouraging in the ACC. After the 2012-13 fiscal year, the league ranked fifth among the Power 5 in the average amount it distributed back to its member schools. Now it's third, behind the SEC and the Big Ten.

Given the success of those conferences' television networks – the SEC launched in 2014 and the Big Ten Network has been around since 2007 – it seems unlikely that the ACC would surpass those two leagues any time soon. But the ACC could stand generate more revenue with a TV channel of its own.

That the ACC paid the Wasserman Media Group – the league's TV consultant and negotiating partner – more than $600,000 during the 2014-15 fiscal year is a pretty good indicator that whatever the ACC and ESPN have been cooking up is nearing a release date. We shall see.

In the meantime, Duke, UNC, N.C. State and the ACC's other full-time members have about $10 million more in conference revenue than they did a few years ago. With the cost of coaching salaries rising and other expenses increasing, too, there's no shortage of places to spend it.

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