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Report: Recent Big 12 Addition Potentially Eyeing Move to ACC

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The ACC.

If it feels like the college football landscape is constantly changing, that’s probably because it is — just about every day.

With the collapse of the Pac-12, and the majority of its member schools winding up spread across the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC, it’s reduced the Power Five to the Power Four. And while the Big Ten and SEC are trending toward superconference status, the ACC and Big 12 are trying to keep up.

According to a report by Dick Weiss of the NY Daily News, there is discussion surrounding Utah possibly flipping to the ACC from the Big 12, which the Utes are officially joining in August. He further reported that the discussion centers around the ACC being a better fit for Utah due to its ESPN Network deal and potential for increased TV value.

But there’s skepticism regarding the stability and attractiveness of the ACC compared to the Big 12.

The ACC is coming off its highest revenue year ever, up nearly $100 million in 2023, and with the new arrivals either taking no TV revenue (SMU) or a very reduced share (Cal and Stanford), it does create additional revenue to be distributed.

Cal, Stanford and SMU will begin ACC play in the 2024 season, in all sports, and all three have agreed to unequal revenue sharing. Cal and Stanford will receive 30% in the first seven years, 70% in the eighth year, 75% in the ninth year and 100% in the last three years. SMU will receive no revenue shares over the first nine years.

That revenue will be circulated back into the ACC, with all 14 previous full-time members and Notre Dame receiving a reported $50-60 million — and additional revenue able to be earned through winning.

According to a report by Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, the ACC brought in $707 million in revenue last year, which was third most among Power Five conferences (behind the SEC and Big Ten) and an increase of nearly $100 million.

“About $38 million of its increase came from TV revenue,” Berkowitz wrote. “The conference said in a statement that this was driven in part by Comcast picking up the ACC Network in December 2021, which made 2023 the first full fiscal year in which the network had reached full distribution.

“The conference increased its bowl revenue by about $40 million compared to 2022, primarily because the Orange Bowl was not a College Football Playoff semifinal following the 2022 season, so the ACC could get revenue from that game. That didn’t happen when the Orange Bowl was a semifinal after the 2021 season.”

Berkowitz further reported that the individual payout was somewhere between $43.3 million and $46.9 million, averaging $44.8 million. Notre Dame received $22.1 million as an independent.

And when it comes to the new College Football Playoff revenue distribution, it’s slightly weighted in the ACC’s favor. While the SEC and Big Ten teams will earn as much as $23 million and $21 million annually, the ACC will earn slightly more than the Big 12 ($13.7 million to $12.3 million). But both continue to fall behind.

The ACC has a TV deal that runs through 2036, which is favorable for keeping its member schools locked in with an expensive Grant of Rights agreement but unfavorable considering the deals the SEC, Big Ten and even the Big 12 have signed in recent seasons.

It remains to be seen if Utah will leave the Big 12 for the ACC, but the Utes would be an intriguing addition to a conference that’s already expanded out west. It will likely come down to how much money Utah would be able to bring in annually.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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