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.

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Norfolk

    Tonight at 7:00 on METV 50.2

  • NFL: Oakland at Green Bay

    Friday at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: The Barclays

    Tuesday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Dave Doeren Show

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Panthers at New England

    Friday at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 1
NOR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
Final
WAS 8
ARI 1
Final
PIT 3
ATL 11
Final
NYY 4
HOU 7
Final
PHI 2
SEA 5
Final
TAM 6
DET 8
Final
BOS 3
ANA 4
Final
MIA 4
TEX 3
5th
CHC 2
SFG 0
 
Final
CWS 1
BAL 5
Final
MIN 5
CLE 7
Final
MIL 6
TOR 1
Final
STL 5
CIN 4
Final
COL 4
KAN 7
8th
OAK 6
NYM 2
 
7th
LOS 6
SDP 4
 
12:40pm Today
MIA
TEX
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
SEA
 
2:10pm Today
MIL
TOR
 
3:35pm Today
OAK
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ARI
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
ATL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
HOU
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
DET
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
ANA
 
7:15pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
SFG
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BAL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
KAN
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SDP
 
Final
DUR 1
NOR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR