Florida St. arrives in ACC, bringing instant riches

July 01, 1991|By Steve Ellis | Steve Ellis,Knight-Ridder

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Atlantic Coast Conference will become larger by one member and richer by $500,000 today.

Florida State, in submitting a rather large check to ACC officials before some 250 invited guests at Doak-Campbell Stadium, will officially become a member of that league.

But Florida State already has made an impact -- especially with its football presence -- upon the ACC. It's one that can be measured in figures that far exceed a half-million dollars.

Expanded syndication of the ACC's football TV package as well as increased sales is one example.

Then there's the proposed bowl package. Without FSU, ACC officials said the league would not have so easily interested Notre Dame, the Big East and major New Year's Day bowls in a conference-bowl alliance that potentially will bring millions of dollars into ACC coffers.

"Absolutely, the addition of Florida State peaked the interest of the bowl community immediately," said ACC assistant commissioner Tom Mickle. "No question it's been a major impact."

As for syndication, the league recently expanded into the state of Florida even though the Seminoles won't play a league schedule until 1992. Of the 10 new markets committed to the Jefferson-Pilot ACC football package, eight will be found in Florida.

"Florida State has obviously helped us [expand the ACC's market]," said Jefferson-Pilot producer Ken Neal. "In terms of overall impact -- it's made the league more competitive, which makes our [TV] schedule more competitive."

Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger opposed expansion, but he, too, won't deny or belittle Florida State's impact.

"I was opposed to getting bigger at a time when we're trying to contain finances," Geiger said. "Florida State is a powerhouse athletically and adds two basketball games, a conference football game, adds a day to the ACC tournament . . . and a tremendous amount of travel for this institution. The prophecies are coming true.

"But I think the world of Florida State, and it will add to the conference immensely. It certainly adds athletic talent at the top of the league."

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