Tuesday, April 23, 2013

boring is the new exciting

"ACC Announces Grant of Media Rights" admittedly doesn't sound like the world's most exciting news release.  It's got all the pizzazz of calling the new college football playoff the "College Football Playoff."**  It sounds like one of those things that you just glaze over upon processing it and then wander off to play some Farmville or something.

If the self-proclaimed experts are right, it's the most exciting and positively thrilling thing to happen in the ACC since the carousel first started turning.

It's basically being treated as a big wall around the conference that prevents anyone from leaving, now and forever, or at least until 2027 when the grant (and not at all coincidentally, the deal with ESPN) expires.  The basic idea is that every school's media rights now belong to the ACC - and don't go with it if it goes to a new conference.  So it's not so much a wall as it is a poison pill; if a school goes to the Big Ten, it's worthless to the Big Ten because neither the school nor the Big Ten have access to the media rights.

Of course, if it's so damn foolproof, you wonder why they didn't come up with this years ago, like, maybe when they were voting on a jillion-dollar exit fee.  Other conferences already have such a thing, why not us?  Well, we do now, at least.  It probably took a while to hash out; my guess would be that some of the bright people who run this show started getting this bright idea shortly after Maryland decided to bounce.

I'll tell you what else it does: last week I passed along some rumblings of a future ACC Network that could be announced soonish.  This seems like the perfect precursor.  I wouldn't call it confirmation of such, per se, but it's walking like a duck and quacking like a duck.

Even if not, it goes a long way in solving the prisoners' dilemma that the ACC presidents have been facing.  If President A felt like he could believe President B when President B put on his serious face and verbally affirmed his commitment to the conference, Wallace Loh put a permanent end to that kind of collegial trust.  So every president knows they'll all get the best deal by staying put, but they don't want to be the nice guy while someone else rats and takes the spoils.  How do you divine the intentions of the other guy?  Well, you put forth an agreement like this.

It's not perfect, of course.  I mean, it doesn't actually prevent anyone from leaving if they really felt like it was in their interest and another conference really wanted that school.  There are those who've so fully convinced themselves that the ACC is gonna fall apart any day now that they're not willing to believe the mounting pile of evidence that it's not.  You can tell who they are by who says something about how lawyers can take apart anything they like.  Which is true, more or less, as is the point that such an agreement has never been tested in the courts and there's a first time for everything.  Still, this is a contract, and contracts are pretty darn enforceable.

What I'm hoping is that it doesn't effect video services like Cavaliers Live.  I like Cavaliers Live.  I want to watch a whole bunch of baseball and lacrosse dammit.  So I hope completely signing over our media rights to the conference doesn't take that away; even so, if I had to trade Cavaliers Live for an ACC that never lost another member, I'd take that and call myself ahead on the deal.

This Brave New ACC, by the way, with four new members, is still rounding into form, particularly with last week's Notre Dame Schedule announcement.  About five weeks ago, I wrote, " Let's place our bets on 2015 being the first year of UVA's involvement in the Notre Dame series."  And lo it came to pass, and better yet it's a home game.  Good thing too because now we have Boise State, UCLA, and Notre Dame on the nonconference sked for that year.  Let's hope we're awesome by then.

Finally, this isn't precisely Brave New ACC stuff, but it is some sweet sweet basketball schedule action, in the form of being told who we'll play and where next year.  Specifically, our two-game opponents are VT and Maryland, which is obvious, and FSU and ND, which is new.  I wonder if the roughly four-hour trip from my house to South Bend is worth it for a basketball game.

**Please tell me no actual consultants were paid in the creation of that name.  It looks to me like this is basically their attempt to say, "SEE LOOK ITS A PLAYOFF NOW STOP BUGGING US."


Anonymous said...

"...until 2027 when the grant (and not at all coincidentally, the deal with ESPN)."

The implications being what exactly?


Brendan said...

Meaning that the current deal with ESPN runs until 2027, which is why the grant does as well.