ACC Locks Down Members with Media Rights Deal
On April 22, 2013, the Atlantic Coast Conference (“ACC”) Counsel of Presidents voted to approve a grant of media rights through 2026-27. Because the deal ensures that each school’s media rights for all home games would remain with the ACC regardless of the member institution’s exit from the conference, the move would make it almost financially impossible for member schools to leave. The ACC is now the fourth league of the “power five” (which also includes the Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12, and the SEC) to execute this grant of rights. The SEC is the only league that currently has not signed a similar deal.
The ACC made the move to solidify conference membership after rumors that several ACC schools were being recruited to join the Big Ten. One such school, the University of Maryland is currently set to join the Big Ten in 2014. Maryland and the ACC are currently embroiled in a bitter lawsuit over whether or not Maryland should be required to pay the conference a $52 million exit fee – an amount three times the school’s annual budget.
Still, it seemed as if most ACC members were pleased with the development and the stability it represents. North CarolinaUniversity athletic director Bubba Cunningham, stated: “These are strong and definitive moves by the ACC and its member schools to further announce our desire to stay together and position ourselves among the top conferences in the country.” Blake James, athletic director for MiamiUniversity, echoed a similar sentiment, noting “In my opinion, any potential realignment of the [ACC] ended with this vote . . . . Today was a great day for the league and for all members of the league.”