Syracuse took a unique approach when hiring a new Athletic Director and Syracuse, and the other members of the ACC may already be enjoying a reward for the new hire. Former ESPN Director of Programming John Wildhack was unveiled as Syracuse’s Athletic Director last Tuesday. Six days later ESPN and the ACC announced a massive, 20-year deal that will create the ACC Network by 2019, with a digital network set to launch before this football season.
The ACC is now following the lead of two of the other “Power 5” conferences. The Big Ten and the SEC have both enjoyed tremendous success with their respective exclusive networks. The SEC, like the ACC, has a partnership with ESPN and the worldwide leader in sports operates their channel. With the launch of their new network, the SEC leapfroged the Big Ten and now lead all conferences in total revenue bringing in $476 milliom. Currently, the ACC is last among the “Big Five” bringing in $331 million.
Each school in the ACC currently makes around $22 million per year. Only time will tell, but this new deal is sure to see a significant increase in revenue.
The launch of this network will surely mean an increase in revenue. Increased revenue can only do good things for Syracuse, especially as the school is ready to take on a massive, $200 million plus construction project that will bring much needed renovations to the Dome.
This deal also provides stability for the conference. In a time where big-time teams seem to be leaving conferences every year (Syracuse is of course a guilty party here), this deal makes it extremely difficult and illogical for a team to leave the ACC. For the next 20 years, the schools’ media rights for all home games will remain with the ACC, meaning they would lose by far the largest portion of their revenue if they left the conference.
There is no way to say exactly why and how this deal was reached when it was, but there is a former ESPN executive in the ACC now. And the ACC and ESPN are set to be partners for the next two decades.