Radakovich says ACC meetings created solidarity among league members

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich told TigerNet Wednesday that the league’s athletic directors came away from the ACC’s winter meetings in Fort Lauderdale earlier this month with a renewed sense of league solidarity.

The conference has seen the additions of Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville be overshadowed somewhat by the departure of Maryland for what many feel were financial reasons as the ACC struggles to keep up with its peer conferences financially.

The Big Ten lured Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, away from the conference with its future media revenue projections, but Radakovich said the winter meetings were a step in the right direction – albeit an early step – as the conference takes a look at ways to add revenue. A potential ACC cable network was a part of those discussions.

“It was great. It was one of the better meetings as it relates to conference solidarity to be honest with you,” Radakovich said. “I think everybody left there feeling good about the conference. There are some really good opportunities moving forward as they relate to an ACC television network. The conference is talking with our media partner ESPN about how that all would work. Because of the increased footprint of the ACC we feel like it is the best time to look at something like this.”

A cable network would allow the ACC - potentially - to keep up financially with the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, which have all launched or are close to launching branded channels. Recent reports have stated that the conference sees the addition of a network as an enticement to keep schools from being snatched away by other conferences.

This past year, the Big Ten led all conferences with a per-school payout of $24 million, compared with the ACC’s payout of $13 million. A dedicated channel could alleviate some of those concerns, even though the ACC is estimating an additional $3.5 million in annual revenues per school in 2014-15 due to a number of factors – the addition of Notre Dame and Louisville, a renegotiated TV contract, the BCS playoff and a new deal with the Orange Bowl that will pair the league champion against a team from the SEC or Big Ten or Notre Dame.

It was announced in mid-January, however, that the ACC has formed a committee of athletic directors and hired Wasserman Media Group to explore the financial benefits of launching the network.

“The conference exists on a number of different levels,” Radakovich said. “One thing the conference does is it takes the assets of its member institutions, and places them in a position to create the most revenue. If having a television network creates revenue for the member institutions, then that is something the conference should look at and work on with a great amount of zeal. We think that’s the case, but we have some people looking at that [Wasserman] to make sure that would be a positive. We can’t leave any stone unturned at this point and time.”

Radakovich said the athletic directors also discussed the possibility of collaboration with another conference as yet another way to increase the footprint of the conference and additional revenue.

“I think it really comes down to the question of, will collaboration with another league benefit the ACC? Those are some of things that our media partners and business consultants need to do the due diligence on,” he said. “They have all of that information. I don’t. I was just looking at it from the perspective that you can gain additional ground through synergy with other organizations. That may be the case or may not be the case. Numbers usually don’t lie. They will be able to come back to the conference and say whether collaboration with another entity will bring value to the ACC.”

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