I saw a tweet from Andy Katz of ESPN this morning after it became official that Louisville was joining the ACC. It read: “Chore for ACC is to make sure it gets as many Louisville, Duke, UNC, Syracuse games as possible. TV will command more of those four vs. four.”
Television would love to command that, but it would be a switch for the ACC if that happened. The ACC has resisted the urge to allow TV to have more of a say in its scheduling. It hasn’t been a huge issue because Duke and North Carolina are rivals and play twice a season regardless because of the way the ACC had its scheduled situated. But it never bent over backward for TV the way the old Big East did.
The old Big East catered to TV. If ESPN and CBS wanted Syracuse and Connecticut to play twice then Syracuse and Connecticut played twice. If ESPN and CBS wanted Pitt and Connecticut to play twice, it happened. No questions asked.
The ACC announced last month that it was going to play an 18-game conference schedule with each school playing a home-and-away series with two “primary” playing partners. Pitt’s partners were Syracuse and Maryland.
This was announced before Maryland decided to leave the ACC for the Big Ten. The ACC could easily slide Louisville into Maryland’s slot on Pitt’s schedules, or it can move in a new direction and allow TV more say in scheduling.
The ACC is being viewed as weaker at the moment because of Maryland’s departure and the rumors that Florida State, Clemson and others are thinking about jumping ship.
The ACC and ESPN will be renegotiating its TV contract soon and getting more money for each school will be important in the wake of Maryland leaving for – you guessed it – more money from the Big Ten, which can provide that because of the Big Ten Network.
There has been a lot of debate over the years about unbalanced schedules in the Big East and how TV networks have too much of a say in how regular-season champions are crowned. The Big East did not care about that because it needed the TV revenue. Coaches lived with it.
The ACC might be in that position now to consider it.
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