ACC Tournament

Swofford shares how ESPN contract came to be

Posted February 16, 2011

ACC Commissioner John Swofford spoke at The Raleigh Sports Club Feb. 16, 2011.

— In a speech at The Raleigh Sports Club Wednesday, John Swofford, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, shared some of the behind-the-scenes details in the deal that landed the highly-coveted men's football and basketball games on the ESPN family of networks.

As the ACC negotiated with ESPN, Swofford said, the initial offer for broadcast rights was $1 billion. "I thought it was an insult," Swofford said he told his negotiating partners.

His instincts were correct. After about a year of negotiations he characterized as "tough," the conference signed a 12-year deal reportedly work almost twice that much.

The Associated Press reported that ESPN is paying $1.86 billion for games from 2011 to 2023. According to the AP's report, that works out to about double the league's current annual TV revenue.

Swofford said he was pleased not only because of the value of the contract, but because the ACC was able to preserve a long-standing relationship with Raycom Sports, which has carried the conference games since the early 1980s. The new deal allows ESPN to "sublease" some games to Raycom in ACC markets.

"This deal will takes us to new heights in financial, coverage, branding and technology," he said.

Although the contract officially kicks in next season, some of those impacts are already being felt. Swofford cited the ACC app and online video vault as advances facilitated by the partnership with ESPN. 

"You can watch live games on a iPad thing," he said with awe. 

Those are only some of the new opportunities the ACC has in store.

He also mentioned some programming changes he called advantages from the fans coming in the 2011-12 sports season.

Football games, previously slated for noon kick-offs, will now start at 12:30 p.m. Swofford said the extra half hour will allow more students to get to the games.

ACC Sunday night basketball games will tip no later than 6 p.m., a fact he said will sit well with coaches.

After his prepared remarks, Swofford took some questions. Key among them was the issue of a playoff to name a Division I football champion. While various options have been discussed, Swofford said the existing BCS bowl structure is successful and complex, and it unlikely to change.

7 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • clemsontiger1982 Feb 20, 3:24 p.m.

    hahaha...too many typos and errors in this article! Good grief, does nobody proof read anymore?

  • TomP07 Feb 17, 11:44 a.m.

    Swofford, I would have approved of this deal if you were somehow able to cut Raycom out of it.... View More

    — Posted by DML

    I couldn't agree more. How awful is Raycom? I'm in my late 20s and I feel like they haven't updated their broadcasts at all.

  • DML Feb 17, 11:17 a.m.

    Swofford, I would have approved of this deal if you were somehow able to cut Raycom out of it. What a horrible network to broadcast our games, and in 2011 still some people aren't getting HD broadcasts because of their poor product. I won't even get into the announcers...

  • ronbo Feb 17, 10:59 a.m.

    What a joke in my opinion. It's about money, not education. Always has been and always will be.

  • pskunk119 Feb 17, 9:59 a.m.

    Has he explained how he let the Gator Bowl get away?

    The current BCS bowl structure is "successful and complex", yeah....right. "Slimy @rick" sounds about right.

  • No Party Affiliate Feb 16, 9:44 p.m.

    "Swofford said the existing BCS bowl structure is successful and complex, and it unlikely to change."

    What a slimy @rick. He sold his soul to the devil.

  • jdupree Feb 16, 9:28 p.m.

    The state of NC should attach the portion of this that relates to UNC and NCSU as these are state supported universities and any income derived from them should belong to all the taxpayers in NC.

TV
  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Tomorrow at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tomorrow at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
7:30pm Tonight
TEXAM
LSU
7:30pm Tonight
TEX
TCU
Final
TENN 64
SCU 57
Final
RMU 71
LAMON 54
Final
BUT 46
OKLA 59
Final
BRO 58
PEAY 79
Final
UTEP 62
PRIN 56
Final
CHAT 78
CCAR 67
Final
RIU 60
KU 76
Final
USCU 68
FIU 53
 
Final
GEOR 65
WISC 68
 
2nd
USB 64
LIU 46
 
2nd
XAV 54
SDU 50
 
1st
INDST 16
ILL 37
 
6:00pm Tonight
WRST
CSFU
6:00pm Tonight
STJOE
WKENT
6:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MSU
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
8:30pm Tonight
WMICH
LBSU
8:30pm Tonight
GT
MARQ
9:00pm Tonight
PVU
STEPH
9:30pm Tonight
MERC
RICE
9:30pm Tonight
UF
UAB
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
SJST
11:59pm Tonight
MEM
BAY
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
WASU
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
EDM
Final
DET 34
CHI 17
2nd
DAL 7
PHI 20
 
8:30pm Tonight
SFX
SEA