Report: ESPN Nails Down $1.86 Billion ACC Deal

BRISTOL, CONN.: ESPN has reached a 12-year, $1.86 billion deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference, according to published reports. The network beat out Fox Sports for the conference’s slate of college mens' football and basketball games.

The deal provides $155 million a year for the ACC schools, up from around $67 million they received annually from existing TV deals with ESPN and Fox Sports, which end after the 2010-11 season. Neither ESPN nor the ACC have confirmed the deal, reported on Monday by the Sports Business Journal and the Triangle Business Journal of Raleigh, N.C.

The ACC let it be known last summer it was shopping for a better TV deal following one paying the Southeastern Conference a total of $3 billion, yielding $205 million annually over 15 years. The SEC struck its broadcast deal, which started this year, with CBS, ABC and ESPN.

The head of the ACC, John Swofford, told news outlets last July that he intended to seek a better deal for the schools so they could continue to compete. Each of the SEC schools receive roughly $16 million a year from the current contract. The ACC schools averaged around $3.1 million from the contract expiring after next season. Clemson, for example was reported to receive $6.5 million. Under the new contract, ACC schools will receive an average of $12 million a year.

Raycom Sports of Charlotte, N.C. is expected to continue running its syndicated football and basketball package through a sublicensing deal with ESPN. -- Deborah D. McAdam