The ACC is rolling in the dough more than any other conference, thanks to strong NCAA Tournament showings over the last three years.
According to a report from ESPN, deep runs from ACC teams, coupled with a Final Four appearance for North Carolina this season, will yield more than $100 million for the conference over a three-year period.
In 2016, four ACC teams advanced to at least the Elite Eight, and three made at least the Elite Eight in 2015. That includes a national runner-up finish for UNC last season and a national championship for Duke in 2015.
The ACC has earned 64 total units to date from the NCAA’s basketball fund, which is a pool set aside from the money the NCAA makes on the tournament’s television deal paid out to reward conferences for advancing. Each game played is worth one unit, with the exception of the national championship game. The monetary value of one unit in the NCAA Tournament this season is $264,859, according to the ESPN report.
Because six ACC teams made at least the Sweet 16 last season, the conference will earn $39.9 million over a six-year payout.
That money earned from NCAA Tournament success is split equally with the conference. So the three-year tournament tally split 15 ways for 15 programs will net approximately $6.8 million -- even if teams like Georgia Tech and Boston College have not contributed to that success.
No other conference is making near as much as the ACC over this three-year span. Behind the ACC’s 64 units, the Big Ten is second with 47, worth approximately $75 million.
In other words: It pays to win in March.