The ACC announced earlier this week that it had reworked its deal with ESPN. The new deal, which runs through 2027, is worth about $17.1 million per year per school.
The old contract brought in about $13 million per year per school. One reason for the increase is two new members, as Pittsburgh and Syracuse are coming aboard from the Big East. Another reason is that conference TV contracts are on an upward tick, with no sign of slowing down.
One aspect of the new deal is that the network will televise three Friday night games each season; Boston College and Syracuse will host at least one of those games each. In addition, the network will televise an ACC game annually on Thanksgiving.
The Big 12 also reportedly has a new deal that officially will be announced any day now; that one, with ABC/ESPN and Fox, would be worth about $200 million annually for the 10-team league. Texas' Longhorn Network is not included in that figure.
Last year, the Pac-12 signed a 12-year deal with ABC/ESPN/Fox that begins this fall. Its schools will make an average of $21 million per school annually. (The deal has an "escalator clause," meaning early payments will be less than $21 million but later payments will be more.) The Big Ten's 10-year deal with ABC/ESPN started in 2007; the Big Ten Network deal runs through 2032. Each league school brings in an average of about $20.7 million annually. The SEC has a 15-year deal with CBS/ESPN that started in 2009, and each member gets about $17.1 million per year. Expect that contract to be renegotiated soon – and go way up – in light of league expansion and other conference's deals.
The one "major" conference missing from this conversation is the Big East, which is said to be renegotiating its deal. The Big East contract is complicated because there have been eight football schools and 16 basketball schools. Big East schools that play both football and basketball have been receiving a bit more than $3 million per year, basketball-only schools about half that.
It's folly to expect any new Big East deal to be anything close to the ACC's. As a football conference, the Big East has no cachet, and its basketball cachet is being watered down, as well. That is one reason John Marinatto became the Big East's former commissioner Monday.
With the defections of Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia, Marinatto tried to keep the Big East as a viable football league, bringing in Boise State, Houston, UCF, Memphis and SMU. It didn't work and he paid for it. Other than Boise, those schools don't move the needle nationally for football at all. (And while Memphis helps for basketball, UCF, Houston and SMU don't. Boise is not joining in basketball.)
Expect the Big East's TV contract numbers to go up for the simple reason that the league provides a network football (and good basketball) inventory. But if the average annual payout is more than $10 million per school for football, it will be a huge surprise.
• Staying with the network/TV rights theme, the Ivy League and NBC Sports Network announced a two-year deal this week. The network will televise a minimum of six, but no more than 10, football games, and up to 10 men's basketball games over the lifetime of the contract. "Ivy League" and "TV deal" would seem to be mutually exclusive, but …
• Leave it to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany to rile up the masses. In an interview with The Associated Press this week, Delany reiterated his position that any playoff format shouldn't include a team that doesn't win its conference. "The polls don't always measure strength of schedule," he said. "Some conferences are playing nine games, some are playing eight. The Pac-12 is playing nine, and then to go out and play a round-robin game against us, that's 10 and some of them are going to play Notre Dame; that's 11 difficult games. If they're ranked fifth in the country and they won a conference championship, I think that's quite an accomplishment. Some teams don't even win their own division. They started off highly in the rankings, lose early, don't play a championship game and they might end up at four. … I don't have a lot of regard for that team. I certainly wouldn't have as much regard for that team as I would for someone who played nine conference games in a tough conference and played a couple out-of-conference games on the road against really good opponents. If a poll doesn't honor those teams and they're conference champions, I do." Gee, you wonder if Nick Saban's ears are burning.
• Michigan State on Thursday announced an important addition to this season's team in WR DeAnthony Arnett, who played for Tennessee last season. Arnett, a native of Saginaw, Mich., transferred in January to be closer to his ailing father. He had requested a hardship waiver for immediate eligibility and it was granted. Arnett caught 24 passes for 242 yards and two TDs last season for the Vols. Michigan State lost its top three wide receivers and no returning wideout caught more than five passes last season, meaning Arnett should be an important offensive cog this fall.
• The 2012 class for the College Football Hall of Fame will be announced Tuesday.
• CBS officially announced that it will show LSU at Arkansas on Nov. 23, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving.
• You just have to shake your head at this one: West Virginia starting Ss Terrence Garvin and Darwin Cook have been charged with one count each of misdemeanor shoplifting from a Morgantown convenience store. Their booty? Gatorade, Doritos and pretzels. Seriously.
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