CLEMSON, S.C.: Sports is a long-acknowledged driver of television innovation, but few consider the impact of TV deals on sports. Larry Williams, the Clemson beat reporter for The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, S.C., wrote recently about how a $3 billion TV contract with the Southeastern Conference is playing out with competing schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Williams said the deal was an elephant in the room during ACC meetings this week in Amelia Island, Fla.
“Evidently, the ACC and its member schools aren’t fretting much about this publicly. But rest assured that lots of folks--including folks here at Clemson--are privately bracing themselves for the seismic impact of this development,” he wrote at GaitorBait.net, a site devoted to the University of Florida’s athletic collective.
The contracts in question start this year and extend over the next 15, delivering a $3 billion windfall to SEC schools. Each school is set to receive about $17 million a year, about $6 million more than under the previous coverage contract.
“And we all know they weren’t exactly slumming it before last August's blockbuster agreements came along,” Williams writes.
By comparison, Clemson gets around $6.5 million a year from the ACC’s TV contracts. That seven-year contract concludes in 2011. An athletics director at the college acknowledged having concern over the resource discrepancy, and Williams mulls the result of competing schools having access to so much more money than Clemson’s Tigers.
“To put the SEC’s numbers into perspective, Notre Dame gets $9 million annually from the deal that made NBC the Irish's official network. So teams like Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and, yes, South Carolina, are now going to be bringing in dough that makes Notre Dame's deal look like chump change,” he writes.
Williams goes on to detail how the schools are already hiking up the salaries of successful coaching staffs and moving to recruit others. His complete coverage is available on GaitorBait.net.
-- Deborah D. McAdams