College Football Insider

ACC to discuss Big 12 alliance, ACC channel at meetings

The ACC is meeting with its athletic directors and faculty reps this week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and two people involved in the meeting say a likely topic is the Big 12 alliance and how it enhances television value, possibly through the prism of an ACC Network.

The meetings started Wednesday and go through Friday. The ACC has consulted with Wasserman Media Group to explore the potential launch of its own conference network, according to the Sports Business Journal. The league will discuss the pros and cons of such a network this week.

Any network would likely involve ESPN as a partner because it owns a 15-year media rights deal with the conference. ESPN would have to release inventory that the ACC could try to package with the Big 12.

After spending time in Dallas earlier in the week for the Big 12 meetings, it seems the league is receptive to the alliance because of the potential for intriguing bowl tie-ins and non-conference matchups. The Big 12 also discussed scenarios in which expansion might kick-start again, including what the Big Ten and SEC could do next and which schools would be available to balloon a 10-team league.

“The concept is to explore some options with the Big 12, find out what we can and can't do together, then take that to the market -- ESPN -- and see what kind of value it has,” said one ACC source.

As for realignment implications with an ACC channel, that's still uncertain. The potential for more revenue and security can't hurt, if the league can pull it off. SBJ reports ESPN is lukewarm on a deal. It all depends on whether ESPN can make more money off the deal.

Also a factor is whether the Big Ten Network's projections -- reportedly as high as $40 million per school by the end of the decade -- are realistic.

After asking around to ACC folks, they seem to feel pretty good about the current dynamic of looming playoff money, additional revenue from Notre Dame's entry and the Orange Bowl tie-in.


Jeremy Fowler is a national college football insider with CBSSports.com. Fowler joined CBS in 2012 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for two seasons and covering the Florida Gators for the Orlando Sentinel for two years. Fowler is also a contributor to the CBS Sports Network.
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