Pitt, and the ACC, will be making a lot more money in 2013.
The big news out of ACC land is that the media deal, which ACC commissioner John Swofford said would happen when Pitt and Syracuse officially joined the conference, was extended today.
ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference have agreed on a rights deal that extends through the 2026-27 season and will mean additional football, men's and women's basketball and Olympic sports coverage on a variety of platforms.
When the ACC adds Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the conference will play an 18-game regular-season men's basketball schedule -- and ESPN networks will show an additional 30 regular-season games, plus two more conference tournament games. The new deal also adds 14 more football games, including three Friday night games (one of which, hosted by Boston College or Syracuse, to be played the day after Thanksgiving).
ESPN will televise a number of regular-season ACC women's basketball games, plus the entire conference tournament and will increase its coverage of Olympic sports, highlighted by baseball, softball, lacrosse along with men's and women's soccer.
According to sources, the deal will be worth approximately $3.6 billion, which equates to about $17 million per program per year. Prior to expansion, ACC schools would have made around $13 million a year. To compare, Pitt is making not nearly that currently in the Big East. If you needed more reasons why Pitt should leave the Big East, this is why. Because even with the media deal negotiations approaching, I doubt the Big East will be able to get a equal amount. And so long as it's more money for Pitt, the move will be worth it.
Other interesting notes on the deal after the jump:
Pitt won't be able to avoid Friday night games once they move to the ACC, although it is better than the midweek Wednesday night games that are occasional appearances on the Big East schedule. There will only be 3 per season (one of which will be Syracuse-BC the day after Thanksgiving), so it is possible that Pitt doesn't appear on Friday nights for quite some time.
It's not SEC/B1G money, but it gets the ACC closer to the levels that the other power conferences will receive, which will help move the ACC that much further ahead of the Big East. Will Florida State and Clemson, two schools rumored to be jumping to the Big 12, like it enough to end the rumors? Probably not, but I get the sense from looking around that FSU and Clemson fans will only be happy when the focus of the ACC shifts off of Tobacco Road, which will likely never happen. Can't win them all I suppose...
ESPN will also get full control over the men's basketball tournament, which it never previously had (I believe the semifinals and finals were on CBS) and will showcase more Olympic sports, including women's gymnastics which will become an ACC-sponsored sport once Pitt joins the conference. In the end, it's great news and it will only help Pitt in the long run.