Update, 2:44 pm: The ACC has officially announced that each of its 15 member institutions has agreed to a TV Grant of Rights Deal.
According to David Glenn, this will extend the ESPN TV deal through the 2026-27 season.
“This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a press release. “The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well positioned with unlimited potential.”
Agreeing to this is a huge step for any conference’s stability. The Business of College Sports has a comprehensive breakdown of what these deals mean, but here’s the skinny.
Previously, to prevent schools from leaving the conference, a conference would raise its exit fee. The ACC did just this, raising its exit fee to $52 million. But as we saw with the ensuing departure of Maryland to the Big Ten, such large exit fees are only debatably enforceable. As The Chronicle reported in November, the ACC sued Maryland over paying the exit fee, a complaint that has yet to be resolved.
So if large exit fees can’t effectively compel member organizations to stay in a league, what is the best way to keep schools around? TV Grant of Rights Deals, in which the member institutions hand over their TV rights to the league for an extended period of time. Essentially, it prevents a team from leaving because even if it does leave, the conference still holds its TV rights and therefore all the money.
Here are quotes from Duke’s brass on the deal:
Per the Business of College Sports, the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 have execute these types of deals already.
“This is an important moment in the history of the ACC, which has been Duke’s home for nearly 60 years. It signals our united commitment to ensuring the future stability of the conference and will enable us to focus on the development of our student-athletes and the spirited competition for which the ACC has always been known.” — Duke President Richard Brodhead
“To be sure, today’s Grant of Rights announcement by the Atlantic Coast Conference is monumental as it clearly shows the unwavering long-term solidarity of the ACC member institutions. Since its inception, the ACC has provided the perfect home for Duke Athletics. Sixty years later, that remains the same. The net result of these negotiations, spearheaded by the determined leadership of Commissioner Swofford, is that the ACC is now in a prime media rights position among its peers and partnered with the preeminent sports broadcasting entity on the planet, ESPN. Historically speaking, this is nothing short of a lasting ‘game changer’ for the ACC’s colleges and universities!” – Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White
“First off, the efforts of Commissioner Swofford and the ACC staff are to be commended. This is an exciting time to be a part of our outstanding conference, and we’re proud to call the ACC our home. The ACC has established itself as the premier conference in the country, and today’s news further exemplifies the solidarity of its member institutions. Obviously, from a media rights perspective, ESPN is the pinnacle of the broadcast industry and we’re thrilled to continue this terrific partnership with them in the future.” – Duke football head coach David Cutcliffe
“I am thrilled with today’s announcement by the Atlantic Coast Conference. It is one of the great days in the history of our conference as it shows the highest level of commitment – not by words, but by actions. With all the uncertainty regarding conference affiliations the past several years in college athletics, this announcement, coupled with our media rights deal with the world’s best sports broadcasting network, secures the ACC’s future, and thus Duke’s, for years to come. As a long-time coach in this league, I understand how terrific the ACC has been. With continued commitment by current members and the addition of several outstanding institutions, the ACC should be in position to reestablish itself as the nation’s top conference in the years to come.” – Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski
“In light of all of the conference transitions and alignments, this news is simply extraordinary. To solidify the ACC now and in the future with such fantastic media opportunities reflects the unprecedented leadership in the conference. The existing partnership between the ACC and ESPN showcases the tremendous traditions of both institutions and provides a maximum opportunity to broadcast the outstanding talents of the conference. From a women’s basketball perspective, this illustrates the incredible dominance of the ACC relative to the commitment to our sport.” – Duke women’s basketball head coach Joanne P. McCallie
The deal was first reported by David Glenn
Here are Glenn’s tweets:
BREAKING: Multiple DG sources says ACC will announce unanimous 15 school agreement extending Grant of Media Rights
— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) April 22, 2013
BREAKING: ACC’s Grant of Rights will extend through the conclusion of ESPN TV Deal–the 2026-2027season
— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) April 22, 2013