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Apr
17
2016

Does Clemson’s recent financial news put additional pressure on ACC revenue generation?

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A recent article on TigerNet.com details the rising costs of competing at the highest level of college athletics for Clemson University.  This included mention of head football coach Dabo Swinney and his new $30 Million contract, and the fact for the first time Clemson students sitting in the Lower Bowl of Death Valley will be required to pay for their football tickets. 

While no direct or even indirect discussion of the ACC and their conference revenue distributions was made in the article, one couldn’t help but think that’s in the back of everyone’s mind.

Clemson like any school can only control what is internal to them. They can ask for booster contributions, raise ticket prices, and license their brand in different way. Bobby Petrino at Louisville recent signed a deal that made him the ACC’s 4th $4 Million head football coach.  

Several ACC schools are improving facilities, and paying coaches more. It’s an arms race to compete, and judging by the conference’s recent athletic performance, many ACC schools are doing a great job of fielding excellent teams.

Let’s make one clear, the ACC and their revenue distributions probably won’t make or break a schools financial situation. We are still talking less than 30% of schools athletic revenue on average will come from conference distributions. A number schools are in the $100 Million  revenue range with $25-$35 Million conference distributions.

That said in regards to the ACC as we look to the future to and this is well documented, the ACC is under increasing pressure to find it’s member schools an additional revenue source. They can’t control how member schools spend or raise money, but it is their responsibility to stay in the ball park with the other power 5 conferences in what they can control.

The college football playoff won’t be changing for years. Existing bowl contracts are tied up  for years. Realistic expansion candidates aren’t changing the TV contracts, and Notre Dame isn’t joining fully in the near future. Basketball is raising tons of money, but that is school performance based and not anything the conference as a whole  is doing.

You know where this is going… It’s the ACC Network or some other revenue generator. It doesn’t look like there are many new options for the conference. The ACC could get a revenue $2-$3 Million revenue bump if a network doesn’t happen, but that is not set in stone. I still believe some kind of network will exist in the next 2-3 years, but until it is officially announced the pressure is on John Swofford and company to make something happen.

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