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Pinpointing ACC Network revenue is difficult

It was announced that the ACC Network will launch in 2019 and it will benefit Pitt - but how much?

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you all know the ACC Network is launching and Anson published an article outlining the announcement last week. With Pitt trying to up their game in the Olympic sports areas, as well as the football and basketball programs, the network will ultimately help make that easier.

The question everyone has at this point is how much Pitt and the other member schools will receive. But the problem in determining how much they will ultimately see this early in the game is because so many variables are unsettled.

Outkick's Clay Travis recently published an article on the ACC Network and what it can do for the schools. As he points out, it's unlikely to contend with Big Ten and SEC money. Travis' biggest points of contention seem to be about how influential can the network be in finding its way into standard packages. As he indicates, the channel is more likely to be picked up by cable/satellite companies for their standard packaging in true ACC territory, but he questions the league's reach in states such as Pennsylvania and New York. Revenue will be determined largely by how much the conference can convince cable/satellite entities to add it as a standard channel (where subscribers would automatically be paying for it) instead of a separate package.

But while pundits can speculate how large of a reach the ACC will have in standard packages, the reality is that at this point, it's just that - speculation.

One thing of importance that can help sway finances at least a little is the ACC's on-field performance. This year, the ACC is slated to have three teams that will be in the conversation for a national title in Florida State, Clemson, and to a lesser extent, North Carolina, who was picked on Monday to win the ACC Coastal Division. All three are coming off great years and have loads of talent coming back in the fall. If the conference produced a national champion and top ten teams, that has to help at least somewhat with negotiations. The more the conference has teams in the national spotlight, the more leverage they have.

Along those lines, there's also the Notre Dame factor. Currently the Irish are an ACC member for other sports but not the one that matters the most - football. The problem for the ACC, as Travis points out, is their contract with NBC for their home games. What's not mentioned in his article is that the Irish have that deal through the 2025 season. So even if they joined the league in football, the amount of games the network could add would be minimal - lessening the amount of impact adding the Irish would have to some degree.

Now, there's no doubt that the long-term health of the network would be boosted by Notre Dame if that deal ends without being renewed. Stewart Mandel says as much in a recent article for FoxSports. While the Irish are under contract with NBC through 2025, getting them out of that deal would be great for the network after that. The ACC's great concern at this point should probably be Notre Dame being harassed by NBC to extend that deal.

One small note of interest regarding Notre Dame is that, as Mandel cites, they will be receiving a full network share despite not being a football member. So any hope that ACC network revenue could help persuade them to join the conference is out the window. If they did come aboard it wouldn't be for that - and truthfully, that's a relatively small piece of the pie, anyway, compared to overall revenue conference members receive.

So back to the original question - how much will Pitt see from the ACC Network?

So, Travis did the math and theorizes it could be somewhere in the ballpark of $6M-$8M per team. But while he doesn't see it topping $8M, he's also quick to point out that he doesn't know. Mandel doesn't take a stab at an actual figure but does paint a rosier picture in terms of getting onto packages in non-traditional ACC states, such as Pennsylvania. The bottom line is no one knows at this point.

Pitt will earn more money but until more gets sorted out, there's no way to come up with an accurate number right now.

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