ACC announced Grant of Rights

Submitted by wile_e8 on April 22nd, 2013 at 2:48 PM

ACC announce Grant of Rights:

The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents announced today that each of the current and future 15-member institutions has signed a grant of media rights, effective immediately.

What this means: The ACC will control the media rights for all the schools currently in the conference, even if they leave the conference.

Why this matters to us: Any expansion-to-16 speculation just took a hit for a while. Since B1G expansion focused solely on media rights, it doesn't make sense to add a school if you don't get to take over their media rights.

Any eastward expansion speculation pretty much starts at UConn now. But at least we already have an awkward 14-member conference with highly anticipated games against Rutgers and Maryland.



April 22nd, 2013 at 3:52 PM ^

ND is on that list as well.  Don't they still keep their football rights including the contract with NBC?  I cannot imagine them sharing that money with other schools.

EDIT: Answering my own question -- of course, they do.  Per Brian's post on the main page.


April 22nd, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

The validity of this will depend on how the lawsuit between Maryland and the ACC goes. Maryland is trying to get out ofthe $50m buyout on the basis that they didn't have enough time to weigh the options of staying or leaving for another conference before that penalty was imposed. If Maryland wins and other schools decide to leave in the next year, I don't think that this is going to be enforceable based on the precendent set by the Maryland case. Only time can tell, though.


April 22nd, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

One question for you law talker types on this one though: This release makes it sound like the Grant of Rights was unanimous, while IIRC Maryland voted against the $50M buyout but lost the majority vote. Does that make a difference if anyone tries to challenge this in the courts?


April 22nd, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

I doubt his is enforceable.  Just because the ACC says it is doesn't make it so.  The moresomeone screams that something is enforceable (which is in effect what the ACC is doing) the greater the chances are that they realize if someone challenges it that it  won't be.  How come you never hear the Big12, PAC12 or the Big10 flauting how similar agreements they signed make it impossible for them to leave?  This will meet the same fate as the ACC's lawsuit with Maryland will.



April 22nd, 2013 at 4:21 PM ^

I stated that other conferences also have them, however none of them made a point of trumpeting how iron clad is was.  Only the ACC felt the need to do that.  How enforceable does the ACC's 50 million dollar exit fee appear to be?  No one outside of the ACC League Office actually thinks they are getting 50 million out of Maryland.


April 22nd, 2013 at 5:00 PM ^

Maybe they felt the need to "trumpet" it because people have decided to believe the conference is going to fall apart regardless of the mounting pile of evidence that it is not.  When everyone frames the questions like, "so, when are you guys going to the Big Ten?" then it's pretty natural to say "never, and here's why."

Not that the Big 12 didn't "trumpet" it as well - it was in the media as much as this one.  The Big Ten also "trumpeted" theirs.  It was called, "Hey, we're starting a Big Ten Network."


April 22nd, 2013 at 5:35 PM ^

Not like the ACC did they certainly didn't.   The ACC could have stated they were starting a network like the Big10 did instead of spouting off about their Grant of Rights. They started a network and announced that.  They did the same thing with the 50 million dollar exit fee and we know how that ended.  The Big10 starting a network is not even close to the same thing as the ACC announcing a Grant of Rights.  When the Big12 signed their grant of rights no one in the media was going on and on about how they would never lose another team like they are with the ACC now.

Regardless of any future realignment moves the ACC is the decidely 5th placed conference in a 4 team playoffs and is made up of almost half of the former Big East.


April 22nd, 2013 at 3:40 PM ^

I wonder why they changed course. I also wonder if there is a way out.

My understanding is that the schools are signing over their TV revenue. However, if the school leaves the conference I am not sure how enforceable a grant of rights would be (similar but different than the exit fee problem).

What did the schools sign over? Does it cover all tiers of rights? I think UT still has rights to games played on Longhorn Network, so can these schools still show games on lower networks (like BTN?) even if a school broke the agreement, then what does the assignment cover? Could a conference successfully sue a state school for the tort of misusing property right (sovereign immunity)?

Regardless, the B10 won't attack the agreement on legal grounds because of the precedent it sets for their own conference agreement.


April 22nd, 2013 at 5:38 PM ^

If the B1G really just wanted to keep expanding, I think they missed their chances not only with the southern schools, but probably with Syracuse. Other than the AAU thing (which was excused for Nebraska because football), Syracuse makes geographic, competitive, and cultural sense and has a history that is very similar to a lot of B1G schools.


April 23rd, 2013 at 9:58 AM ^ completely bunk, all that matters is if people will watch the games on television to make more advertising dollars...if the B10 were smart they would aquire either Pitt or L-ville for the main reasons being: high level of competition (which inadvertantly equals higher TV ratings), far better location for fans/teams to travel, and both schools have a relatively decent fan turnout (at least in b-ball) and wouldn't be revenue hogs much like Rutgers and Maryland


April 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

I think that this is a very narrow-minded look at things. Keep in mind that the ADs are still university employees and making the school money helps them keep their jobs (and maybe earn a raise/bonus). A university joining the CIC will earn millions of dollars in research money, generally out-weighing any other benefits of being in one particular conference.

For the splitting of the research funding to be worth it, the school needs to offer something (e.g. a quality research school or a state that will draw a lot of funding and AAU status). That's why the New York market is so important and why Maryland was a huge draw (D.C.). It's also why North Carolina, Virginia, and GIT were the next targets. Louisville and Pitt don't bring that. Missouri and Vanderbilt (as someone else mentioned) might, but I don't think you can get them away from the SEC.

The Mick

April 23rd, 2013 at 10:47 AM ^

Mizzou might, but Vandy is probably a total longshot. Since the SEC is the only major conference without an exit fee or with a GoR, I don't think its a pipe dream. It's the most inexpensive way to get AAU members into the conference. I think it will happen now or never, since the GoR of the ACC will make the SEC think about one very hard.

"As a sidenote, two sources have told The World-Herald that the Big Ten has done prior “homework” on Oklahoma, Kansas and Vanderbilt among other schools who might some day be expansion targets."


April 23rd, 2013 at 11:14 AM ^

but the University of Michigan has an endowment of roughly $8 billion dollars, a few extra million they may or may not gain/lose isn't going to be anything more than a drop in the bucket to these massive schools with ridiculously high endowments...In case you haven't noticed, the $EC is grabbing up the talented teams (granted they semi-cheat to do so, but that is besides my point) and a lot of revenue is flowing their way because people like to watch winners, not mediocrity....we can sit on our high-horse all day long about how great of research institutions we are, but we are dragging behind (as a whole) and bringing in good teams like L-ville and Pitt make all the dollars and sense


April 22nd, 2013 at 5:46 PM ^

Here's the CollegeFootballTalk piece on the subject - (HERE)

According to this, it would protect the media rights through 2026-27, which is the same length as the ACC's agreement with ESPN, as well as the fact that per team revenue should exceed $20 million this year. Some other reports seem to go with this announcement meaning that the ACC Network is on its way as well, as this would probably open the door to some relatively stress-free discussion on the subject for the ACC. 

From "The Business Of College Sports":

"Because the value of a school to a conference is the television revenue it can help generate, a grant of rights agreement makes the members essentially worthless to another conference that is looking for new members."


April 22nd, 2013 at 6:21 PM ^

rights to their media presence if they leave that conference? That's nuts.

That's like signing a legal agreement with your wife that if you divorce her, she still gets half your income.

Oh wait.


April 22nd, 2013 at 8:00 PM ^

What I don't understand is why any president would pen his/her name to an agreement which runs until 2027 and binds the conference regardless of the prevailing landscape.  The current TV model is already changing.  Who knows what its value will be in five years, forget the end of the ACC's agreement.

Can anyone see a way out of this with some interesting legal theory? Liquidated damages is one thing, this is quite another.


April 22nd, 2013 at 10:53 PM ^

I see this as the ACC presidents trying to solve a prisoner's dilemma of sorts.  Most of them would like to keep the ACC together.  Some would have no place to go (Wake, Pitt, e.g.), others find a lot of value in the ACC name and see their schools value partially derived from the ACC (Duke, UNC, e.g.)  They know what their preferred outcome is but they don't fully know the stay-or-go mindset of the other presidents.  And you can't trust that just because they sit in on conference calls and assure everyone of their good intentions that they're not planning something, because that's what happened with Maryland.  If, say, UVA thinks UNC is ready to bolt, then UVA might want to get on that train, and vice versa - but both would rather stay put.  So the schools come up with a way to telegraph their intentions in a concrete fashion.

The nature of the TV model doesn't matter because media rights are always going to be worth something.


April 22nd, 2013 at 11:46 PM ^

Take Florida State.  Even if they are 100% happy in the ACC as of this moment (supposedly they were among the biggest advocates out there for Louisville's invite) ----- things can change, and quick.  A school like that will always have potential options.  Even if the ACC completely falls apart, FSU is not going to fall to the Sun Belt. 


I can't think of one single thing in signing a GOR that would be a "benefit" for FSU?

The Mick

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:52 AM ^

This means Mizzou and Vandy to the B1G, both going to the West and Purdue gets moved  to the East. Split the whole B1G according to timezones and also loose the last protected rivalery.