When the ACC begins negotiations next year on a new TV contract, the league will be in year six of its move to a 12-team, two-division superconference.
In many ways, the strength of that next deal will serve as a referendum on the ACCâ€™s expansion, which added Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to the conferenceâ€™s nine-team base five years ago.
â€œThe next TV deal will be the proof in the pudding,â€ said Dan Radakovich, athletic director at ACC member Georgia Tech.
But Radakovich added: â€œFor my school, I donâ€™t see how weâ€™re tangibly different than we were before expansion.â€
For Virginia Tech, expansion was like hitting the lottery:
While the ACCâ€™s nine holdovers have enjoyed modest revenue increases from the conference, the big winners have been the newcomers. Virginia Tech has seen its conference revenue go from $6 million in fiscal 2004, its final year in the Big East, to nearly $12 million in fiscal 2007.
In addition to finding a more ideal fit with the ACC than the Big East, Virginia Tech has reaped financial rewards that have helped its football revenue sprout from $21 million to more than $40 million during that same time span. Ticket and luxury suite revenue provided the impetus for the football increases. Travel expenses decreased because â€œwe basically went from an airplane league in the Big East to a bus league in the ACC,â€ Weaver said.
Former Duke AD Joe Aleva:
â€œFrom a Duke perspective, it didnâ€™t enhance much at all,â€ said Alleva, who left Duke for LSU earlier this year. â€œFrom a scheduling department, I donâ€™t think it was a good thing. We went from playing a rival like N.C. State twice a year in basketball as part of a round-robin format to playing them once a year for many years because theyâ€™re in a different division.
â€œThe reason for expansion was football, to improve the leagueâ€™s situation, to expand our footprint and enhance our TV market. From that standpoint, expansion has been very good. You want as many eyeballs watching as you can get.â€