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ACC Hits The Pause Button On Power-Conference Realignment

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Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

The ACC's member institutions agreed Monday to a grant of media rights through the 2026-27 season, which effectively shuts down the possibility of a school leaving the league during that time frame. This is why:

If an ACC school were to leave the conference, it would forfeit its television revenue to the ACC through the 2026-27 academic year. A school that left the ACC in July, for instance, would forfeit about $280 million in television revenue over the next 14 years, based on terms of the ACC's contract with ESPN.

You change leagues, you get nada; the ACC keeps all yo' dough. And per-school payouts are expected to reach the $20 million/year mark later this year. That's a whole lot of potential revenue to give up just to go play sports with strangers in distant lands, and for now at least, it seems we can go ahead and table this whole realignment business. It's a big step for the security of the ACC, though hardly an unprecedented one--the SEC is the only power conference without a grant of media rights agreement in place.

The ACC also is working with ESPN on a dedicated 24-hour television network that could further increase revenues, and the grant of rights goes a long way in helping that cause. Because ESPN probably wouldn't want to get involved in a network with a conference it thinks might implode at any time.