TV football deal to pay ACC $263M

ABC, ESPN like looks of expanded conference


May 13, 2004|By Ed Waldman | Ed Waldman,SUN STAFF

The addition of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College yielded its first tangible benefit to the Atlantic Coast Conference yesterday with the announcement of a seven-year television contract for football that will pay $263 million.

The deal, with Walt Disney Corp.-owned ABC and ESPN, replaces a seven-year contract that was signed in 1998 and was reported to be worth between $190 million and $200 million. Neither side would discuss specifics, but a conference source confirmed the value of the new deal.

"These are the kinds of deals you like," Loren Matthews, ABC's senior vice president for programming, said during a conference call yesterday. "Certainly the ACC, with the addition of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College, goes right to the top tier of college football conferences."

Miami and Virginia Tech will move from the Big East Conference to the ACC for the next football season. Boston College will join in 2005, becoming the ACC's 12th member.

At the end of that season, the conference will hold a football championship game that will be televised nationally.

Other broadcast highlights of the contract include nationally televised Labor Day games next season and in 2005 between Florida State and Miami and a doubling of the ACC's Thursday night appearances, to six.

The new deal is backloaded, according to University of Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, with the conference receiving $28 million in the first year and $42 million in 2010.

By comparison, the Southeastern Conference already gets about $40 million a year for its lucrative football contract, including TV coverage of its championship game.

The three new ACC schools will have to wait until their third year in the conference to get a full share of TV revenue.

In 2003, Maryland received nearly $2 million in revenue from football TV contracts. Because of the complexity of the new deal, Yow, who was traveling home from the ACC meetings in Florida yesterday, couldn't say exactly how much the school would get next year.

"It's obviously better than what the projections would have been," she said. "There's no question about that."

And there's no question, according to ACC commissioner John Swofford, that the deal shows conference expansion was a good move.

"This contract solidifies and underlines what we thought it [expansion] could mean," he said.

Swofford also said that the conference had been talking exclusively with ABC and ESPN, but that if "we had ever gotten to the point of going to the street, there was interest elsewhere."

"We got everything we wanted that truly matters [in the deal]," he said.

Other aspects of the contract include an increased presence for the conference on, ESPN Pay-Per-View, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes.

Shapiro, calling it a "new-age deal," said it is possible that ACC games will be webcast on this season.

Two games each week will still be available to be syndicated to ACC markets through Raycom.

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