The ACC is mulling an amended revenue distribution model that could reward high-performing members with additional revenue. Conference administrators spoke about different options during their annual meetings in Florida this week.
One proposed model shared by Florida State athletic director Michael Alford to 247Sports would have the ACC provide merit-based rewards contingent on winning in the postseason. Individual payouts could clear $10 million per season, a significant increase relative to the $36.1 million total distributed to ACC schools in 2021.
“We have to look at revenue differently,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips told ESPN. “And I feel good about that.”
The news comes amid reports thatto evaluate whether breaking the conference’s grant of rights is feasible. The league signed a massive 20-year television contract with ESPN that runs through 2036, and while the deal brings stability in the form of a long-term grant of rights, it also puts a cap on league revenue and distribution as fees skyrocket.
The Big Ten signed a contract with CBS, NBC and Fox that will pay league members $75 million per season. The Big 12 locked in a short-term contract with ESPN and FOX that will push the league past $31 million annually in television revenue. For comparison, the ACC’s contract with ESPN pays approximately $17 million per school.
“We’re going to continue to do what’s best for Clemson,” Clemson athletic director Graham Neff told 247Sports. “That means strengthening and supporting the ACC and being a proud member, but also just making sure that we’re very connected in doing what’s best for Clemson.”
The potential of an expanded revenue model appears to have quieted discussions on trying to break the grant of rights, which could prove prohibitively costly. Even if schools pay the exit fees, they will have to separately negotiate the release of television rights to join a new conference.
“I think some of that — a lot of that is overblown,” Alford said. “The future of the ACC, in that room, we’re together, and we’re coming up with a lot of solutions with one another.”
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