ACC Extends Rights with ESPN in Lucrative Deal
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has gone under a transformation in 2012. The addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse have raised the competitive bar on the playing field and, now, a new television agreement with ESPN promises to increase the conference’s exposure to unseen heights.
On Wednesday, the ACC and ESPN announced an extension to their exclusive agreement through 2026-27. According to the Associated Press, who spoke with a person familiar with the agreement, the deal is worth $3.6 billion over the 15 years.
The agreement includes more more men’s regular-season and conference tournament basketball games, more conference football games, dozens more Olympic sports competitions, and title sponsorship rights, The deal will provide content to numerous ESPN multimedia platforms, including ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, WatchESPN.com, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN 3D, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and ESPN.com.
“This expansion and extension of our exclusive agreement brings tremendous value to our company and to ACC fans everywhere,” says John Skipper, president, ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks. “We look forward to showcasing this premier conference across all platforms through 2027.”
The conference’s planned increase to an 18-game conference men’s basketball schedule and the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse will bring an increase of 30 conference men’s basketball games per year and two more conference tournament games. In football, 14 more conference-controlled games will be televised each year. Per the extension, ESPN has the right to televise three Friday ACC football contests annually which will include a standing commitment from Boston College and Syracuse to each host one game as well as an afternoon or evening game on Thanksgiving Friday. Also, more women’s basketball and dozens more Olympic sports competitions will be covered on ESPN platforms representing the conference’s 25, soon to be 26, sponsored sports.
ACC on ESPN
ESPN has been televising ACC content since 1979 and has exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and Olympic sports matchups, and all ACC championship events. ACC content is distributed on the widest array of multi-media platforms in the sports industry. ACC on ESPN highlights:
- Football on national TV: Extensive regular-season action on Saturday afternoon and nights, primetime Thursdays, three Fridays including Thanksgiving Friday, Labor Day Monday and the ACC Football Championship Game;
- Men’s basketball on national TV: The most comprehensive coverage of regular-season games and the entire conference tournament produced and distributed via ESPN; regular-season matchups of the storied Duke-North Carolina rivalry each year; full national telecasts on all games televised on an ESPN platform; a weekly ACC Sunday Night Basketball franchise on ESPNU;
- Women’s basketball: Numerous women’s regular-season basketball games and the entire conference tournament;
- Olympic sports: An extensive commitment to the league’s soon to be 23-sponsored Olympic sports with regular-season and championship telecasts, highlighted by baseball, softball, lacrosse, and men’s and women’s soccer;
- Digital media: Exclusive ACC football, men’s and women’s basketball, and Olympic sports games as well as simulcasts on ESPN3. Live ACC games, including football and basketball, on ESPN Mobile TV;
- ESPN 3D: Select live ACC action on ESPN 3D;
- Additional outlets: Select ACC action on ESPN International, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes; and extensive content rights for ESPN.com.
Sponsorship and Enhancements
For the first time, ESPN has acquired title sponsorship rights, subject to conference approval, beyond football to all other conference championships including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, televised in its entirety on ESPN networks and its syndication partner Raycom, has never been sponsored in its 59-year history.
“We are excited to have further enhanced our partnership with ESPN through the extension of our multimedia contract,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “We are proud that ESPN has invested so deeply in the ACC both from a resource and exposure standpoint. As we look to the future, this relationship will be tremendous for our schools, fans, coaches and student-athletes.”