Why does this matter? Because football feeds the beast. Make no mistake about it, even the most ardent Title IX advocates must admit that without college football – there is no funding for college sports at major universities. With apologies to men’s’ basketball, football drives revenue, but more importantly, the passion. Football creates a sense of school spirit that no other sport can touch – and giving at levels that other sports simply cannot imagine.
Sadly, with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s current financial weakness, relative to its peers, Florida State and many other ACC members have reason to be afraid – to be terrified of what lies ahead. And for those who believe the ACC Network is the solution to their woes, think again.
To pour salt in the open wound, ESPN has fallen on hard times and likely can’t offer the ACC a deal anywhere near what the Big 10 and SEC have – so to avoid the aforementioned $100M+ fine for having no network, ESPN came up with a public relations coup, and announced an online network that might one day be worth something to the ACC members. What a PR sales job this has been for the ACC and the Athletic Directors who don’t want to admit they have egg on their face. They have convinced themselves their administrators and fans that they have done something grand, when in reality, all they have dones is lost the chance for a massive one-time payment and deferred the determination of failure or success of the network for years. This is not leadership, it is gambling – with other people’s money. In the meantime, member schools are now forced to spend or “invest” tens of millions of dollars of their own money to upgrade broadcasting facilities in their venues in the hope of selling subscriptions to what is nothing more than a glorified streaming service. The SEC and the Big 10 got networks, the ACC got a website and an invoice to its member schools to enhance communication facilities to make the content available on-line. What a deal!