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 ACC’s expansion, which added Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to the conference’s nine-team base five years ago.
“The next TV deal will be the proof in the pudding,” said Dan Radakovich, athletic director at ACC member Georgia Tech.
But Radakovich added: “For my school, I don’t see how we’re tangibly different than we were before expansion.”
For Virginia Tech, expansion was like hitting the lottery:
While the ACC’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 “we basically went from an airplane league in the Big East to a bus league in the ACC,” Weaver said.
Former Duke AD Joe Aleva:
“From a Duke perspective, it didn’t enhance much at all,” said Alleva, who left Duke for LSU earlier this year. “From a scheduling department, I don’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 they’re in a different division.
“The reason for expansion was football, to improve the league’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.”