Big Ten schools made nearly $25 million more than ACC schools
While the Atlantic Coast Conference prepares to launch its own television network in August of 2019, the league continues to fall behind the other Power 5 Conferences in terms of television revenue.
The ACC now ranks fifth among all Power 5 Conferences in terms of what it pays its member institutions in television rights. According to Clemson Deputy Athletic Director Graham Neff, ACC schools were expected to make approximately $26.9 million in television revenue from the 2017-’18 fiscal year, that is nearly $25 million below what Big Ten Schools will get.
To make matters worse, the ACC is the only Power 5 Conference below the $30 million mark among the Power 5 Conferences. The SEC is No. 2 behind the Big Ten at $40.9 million, while the Big 12 is No. 3 at 34.3 and the Pac-12 Conference is fourth at $31.5 million.
The good news is the ACC expects to be competitive once the ACC Network is launched. The hope is the league will fall somewhere in between what the SEC and the Big 12 is bringing in, followed by a consistent climb in revenue, which has been seen primarily by the Big Ten and the SEC Networks the last half decade.
“I do know there is a lot of optimism within the league of knowing what our footprint is and knowing what our in-market is vs. our out-of-market is so with our eastern seaboard, from Miami to Syracuse to Boston, there are a lot of eyeballs within that footprint, therefore it provides opportunity for those providers,” Neff said.
The ACC is hopeful its passionate fan bases will come to its aid like Big Ten and SEC schools have done for them.
“That is why the Big Ten Network and the SEC Network has had success and ultimately monetized it,” Neff said. “With the Big Ten and the SEC, thanks to their passionate fan bases, they have had a lot of success with those in-market sales.”
In other words, the ACC needs its passionate fan bases, such as Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech in football, along with North Carolina, Duke, NC State, Louisville, Syracuse and Virginia in basketball to start calling their cable or satellite provider and request it pick up the ACC Network. ESPN recently started to sell the network to cable and satellite providers.
“The grass roots effort of those sales and us communicating that through Clemson Nation, whether that is through Prowl & Growl (events) or through readership, etc., the way Clemson will monetize this is through the fans calling their cable provider or their satellite provider and telling them they want the ACC Network,” Neff said. “That money goes from the cable or satellite provider to ESPN, back to the ACC and then to Clemson.”
ACC schools will not receive any revenue money from the new network until after the 2019-’20 fiscal year and there is no projection, at this time, of what kind of money it might be. It is not like in August of 2019 the ACC will automatically have more revenue.
“Leading up to August of 2019 we have to have viewership in households,” Neff said. “So that when I am paying DirecTV, a $1.75 of that goes to ESPN, 50 percent of that goes to the ACC and 1/15th of that goes to Clemson.”
Though the ACC has a big foot print when it comes to viewership, there is concern outside the conference if there are enough passionate fans to support its own network. Though schools like Clemson, FSU, UNC, Duke, NC State, Louisville, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech have very passionate fan bases in football or basketball, there are also schools such as Miami, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College and Pitt that have very small or fickle fan bases.
Those are not issues the Big Ten or the SEC ever has to worry about.
“Fans in South Florida, are they going to moving the needle down there? I don’t know,” Graham said. “Concern is not the right word. The concern now and the condition that we are living in is the big gap from $26 million to $41 million to $51 million.
“We are just into the new fiscal year and South Carolina has a big head start on us because they kind of know what check they are getting from the league at the end of the year and we know what kind of check we are getting so there is a gap right now.”
Unfortunately for the ACC, those gaps are not going to be closed until the end of the 2019-’20 fiscal year and by then, it still might not be closed enough.
Power 5 Conference television revenue payouts from 2017-’18
- Big Ten: $51.1 million per school
- SEC: $40.9 million per school
- Big 12: 34.3 million per school
- Pac-12: 31.5 million per school
- ACC: $26.9 million per school
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!