Money Keeps Growing for the ACC

We have so many new readers coming to SFN every day that many of you have missed some of the great entries of the past. Back around Christmas – when site traffic is also organically low – LRM ran a fantastic analysis of ACC expansion. We wanted to highlight it today for everyone since it was related to a couple of other new items we’ve got:

Evaluating ACC Expansion, Part One

Evaluating ACC Expansion, Part Two

I was against the idea of expansion prior to the league’s execution of the idea. I was particularly against the idea of the manner in which the league expanded.

With this said, I cannot argue too much with the financial performance of the league since the expansion. (Although one must account for natural inflation that is difficult to account for in adjustments). This recent article from the Greensboro News & Record highlights some of the ACC’s more recent financial success.

The league disbursed $137.5 million to its 12 member schools in the tax year ending June 30, 2007, according to federal returns made available this week. The increase of 5.7 percent over 2005-06 allocations is the largest since an 11.7 percent jump from 2001-02 to 2002-03.

The boost is not enough to cover increases in the members’ overall costs of running major sports programs, but it seldom serves that purpose and is not expected to do so.

The 2006-07 year was the ACC’s second with 12 members and the football championship game, the centerpiece of a television contract that delivered $39.2 million to the league during the year. That’s a 69 percent increase from the 2003 season, the final one with nine teams. Virginia Tech and Miami joined the conference in July 2004, and Boston College followed a year later.

“The financial realities of where we are have been right on target with the analysis before we expanded,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford. “It’s pretty much where we expected to be.”

The ACC’s total income, nearly half of which comes from football and men’s basketball television contracts, considerably outpaced estimates dated May 1, 2007, but that’s misleading. Those projections, for example, listed $16.38 million in probable revenue from football bowl games. The conference first surpassed $17 million in bowl revenue for the 1998 season and has enjoyed steady increases since. The 2006 season brought nearly $29 million from bowl games.

As a result, total revenue of $159,753,654 beat the projections by 33.5 percent, and cash allocated to the membership was 27 percent greater than the estimates.

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24 Responses to Money Keeps Growing for the ACC

  1. RAWFS 06/20/2008 at 9:24 AM #

    As the guy who runs the server that this site lives on, I can tell you that SFN is growing and doing so at a very good clip.

    I daresay that it is in the top 20 of all college-team focused web sites, and considering the performance of the Wolfpack as a whole that speaks very loudly to the writers here more than anything else.

  2. RickJ 06/20/2008 at 10:40 AM #

    ACC expansion has been very good from a financial standpoint. However, since fully expanding we have not had a team play in either the NCAA basketball championship game or the BCS football championship.

    Additionally, we have not come close to getting a second team into a BCS bowl game, one of the big reasons given for expansion. The finances would look a lot better if we had.

    It is very early to be grading expansion, but to date I’d give a B+ for finances and D for competitiveness. Football has been upgraded some but basketball is a problem – other than Duke and UNC I don’t see a basketball program in the league that is currently a Top 35 program (not top 35 team this year but top 35 program based on recent performance). Hopefully this will not continue but in historical terms, it is a disaster.

  3. Wolf-n-Atl 06/20/2008 at 10:47 AM #

    I think the basketball will work itself out. I think WF is on the verge of putting a good team together for several years moving forward. Duke & UNC are not going anywhere.

    Despite our lack of NCAA success, we still own the Big10(11) every year which should show that our league is still very strong. Clemson has improved, Miami and VT are better than anticipated now we just need to get our team back to the top.

  4. wufpup76 06/20/2008 at 10:49 AM #

    SFN is great – and you run a pretty good one yourself, RAWFS 😉

    Kudos to SFN and RAWFS


    I was mostly in favor of expansion at the time, primarily b/c of football and gaining and/or keeping stature as one of the premiere confrences (if not the best) … At the time, every other ‘power’ conference had at least 10 member institutions and were garnering the majority of the bowl bids and NCAA tourney bids

    That said, I agree w/ SFN about how the expansion process would be conducted; and I had reservations about how it would affect basketball … What’s done is done I guess, and it is making the league a lot of money – regardless of level of play on the court/field

  5. StateFans 06/20/2008 at 11:10 AM #


    You are thinking like an NC State FAN and not an NC State administrator.

    Success on the field means nothing as long as you make money!!!

  6. VaWolf82 06/20/2008 at 11:26 AM #

    However, since fully expanding we have not had a team play in either the NCAA basketball championship game or the BCS football championship.

    But don’t you think that this is more of a coincedence, rather than cause/effect?

  7. old13 06/20/2008 at 11:32 AM #

    Seems rather “funny” to me that so many things surrounding Wolfpack athletics (e.g., this blog, Wolfpack Club membership, NCSU alumni successes, etc.) are so excellent; yet Wolfpack athletics as a hole . . . er . . . whole mostly suck!

  8. wufpup76 06/20/2008 at 11:33 AM #

    “But don’t you think that this is more of a coincedence, rather than cause/effect?”

    Bad karma left over from the league’s pillaging, perhaps? Surely I jest …

  9. RickJ 06/20/2008 at 1:14 PM #

    “However, since fully expanding we have not had a team play in either the NCAA basketball championship game or the BCS football championship.

    But don’t you think that this is more of a coincedence, rather than cause/effect?”

    “Yes”, especially regarding basketball. I did think from the beginning of expansion that it was a terrible idea from the Florida State & Miami football perspective to be in the same conference. Before expansion FSU & Miami were both going to a BCS bowl just about every year. There was no way this could continue after expansion but it has turned out a lot worse than I expected.

  10. redfred2 06/20/2008 at 5:18 PM #

    I was going to say that Swofford’s (football) expansion resembles our own administration’s view of athletics as a whole, it’s all about the $$$, regardless of everything else. SFN already beat me to it though.

  11. redfred2 06/20/2008 at 5:23 PM #

    What’s that old saying, “The more the moneyer”?

  12. highstick 06/20/2008 at 5:42 PM #

    I can’t imagine the analysis here being any better.

    However as Fred intimates “some programs have turned themselves into whores over money” without putting a quality product “on the street corner”.

    It’s time to put the money into the “ladies of the night aka the teams/players” rather than into the “brickhouses”

    I realize this is probably a stupid comment, but after 4 IPA’s and it’s Friday night….. I really never had a problem with bringing BC into the ACC fold. I’ve always been a football fan of theirs because they play hardnosed solid football and have a quality roundball program. I choked over Miami, but understand.

  13. wufpup76 06/20/2008 at 6:38 PM #

    ^Speaking of teams to get in – as much as I hate them, I would’ve readily welcomed Syracuse … though, our league-wide football reputation would be even worse w/ Syracuse here as opposed to VT, Miami, or BC … The Orange’s football program went straight to rock bottom after McNabb’s days there

    Kinda hard to believe our Jamie Barnette/Mike O’Cain teams beat McNabb twice … Those were fun games 🙂

  14. Octavian 06/20/2008 at 7:41 PM #

    The ACC has taken it on the chin the past few years, particularly in football, but as Tony Barnhart said, if the league were a stock it would be a strong buy. We will get back to winning more games as a league and get 2 in the BCS.

    It looks like the ACC is tops in league distribution @ 137M, beating out the SEC at 127M. Not too shabby

  15. highstick 06/20/2008 at 8:33 PM #

    Somehow I don’t think I’d be buying Wolfpack stock with Lee at the helm. Unless I was just in it “for the money”~

    Any score yet tonight on the LSU-Baby Blue game?

  16. redfred2 06/20/2008 at 8:49 PM #

    highstick, Wolfpack stock is hard kind of hard to describe using normal terms, but it’s a low performing, high yield stock.

    SFN: I don’t understand the ‘high yielding’ part of the stock.

  17. roandaddy 06/20/2008 at 9:19 PM #

    Saw an article on SEC.. here are their past payouts
    1980 $4 mil
    1990 $16 mil
    2000 $73 mil
    2008 $127 mil

    Not sure how I feel about this much growth, but is big freakin business and its a little scary. Especially how it sometimes feels the bigger the program, the more Teflon they are to allegations. (see USC and Reggie Bush, why the heck is that being brushed over?)

  18. DT44 06/20/2008 at 9:38 PM #

    Who could predict, at time of expansion, that Miami and FSU football would go on the skids….which has nothing to do with expansion.

  19. LRM 06/21/2008 at 8:44 AM #

    Concerning the FSU/Miami argument above, an interesting comparison would be Oklahoma/Texas at the formation of the Big XII. At that time, both rivals were traditional powers but neither had shown much recent prowress. Coincidence or not, after the formation of the Big XII, within a matter of years both Oklahoma and Texas had returned to perrenial national prominence — and they play not only in the same conference, but the same division.

    ACC expansion could never have succeeded with Florida State and Miami in the same division like Texas and Oklahoma. This isn’t by any means a qualified analysis, but contrasting and comparing the reasons why it has worked in the Big XII and not in the ACC might be interesting (Alabama/Auburn/LSU and Georgia/Florida/Tennessee would be interesting as well).

  20. StateFans 06/21/2008 at 10:12 AM #

    Can’t wait for an FSU-Miami ACC Title game in Charlotte. It will look almost as bad as last year’s ACC Championship in Jacksonville.

    The doomsday scenario is obviously a Boston College vs Miami ACC Championship.


  21. redfred2 06/21/2008 at 10:39 AM #

    “I don’t understand the ‘high yielding’ part of the stock.”

    What I meant was that while the overall product performance was shoddy across the board, for some strange reason the returns/$$$ just keep on rolling in.

  22. LRM 06/21/2008 at 11:43 AM #

    FSU-Miami didn’t sell out the Orange Bowl.

    I’m inclined to think FSU would do its part in Charlotte, but interestingly enough, the way the divisions were set up, three of the five biggest attendance draws — VPI, FSU, Clemson, State, UNC — for the championship game in Charlotte are all in the same division (State, FSU, Clemson) and couldn’t even meet. This tells me that unless there is some major cultural shift on the whole, the ACC Championship will usually have attendence issues.

  23. highstick 06/21/2008 at 5:33 PM #

    Fred, I just wonder how much better the returns/$$$ would be if we actually accomplished something like winning a championship in a major sport on occasion?

    Gee whiz, we might be one of those stocks listed on the Interweb…..

    Just a stupid thought, but if Lee was in Tennessee, did he collaborate on the invention of the Interweb with Al Gore???

  24. redfred2 06/22/2008 at 7:51 PM #

    “I just wonder how much better the returns/$$$ would be if we actually accomplished something like winning a championship in a major sport on occasion?”

    highstick, remember earlier, when you said …

    “some programs have turned themselves into whores over money”

    I know on the streets it’s for money most every time, but isn’t there also something known as a pity _ _ _ k, especially when the customer is a total hopeless loser.

    I wonder if maybe this administration isn’t worried about losing it’s own hopeless loser/pity _ _ _ k, status within it’s own fan base, possibly because of the all of the money that’s flowing in hopes of changing their situation for them.

    That may be a stretch of sorts, but then again??? It’s apparent that they do not want to do ANYTHING good, bad, or ANY LITTLE THING that may upset the current equilibrium of dollars flowing into NC State University. Depending on who’s viewpoint it is, it just may be perceived that something really positive could also be seen as a negative, cash flow wise that is.

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