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ACC getting ready for the future

Commentary

April 28, 2013
By Steve Sampsell (sports@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

Everyone knew TV money, specifically for football, prompted much of conference realignment in recent years - when intercollegiate athletics became blind to geography and tradition as athletic departments and university presidents preached care for "student-athletes" but chased revenue wherever they could find it.

An agreement this past week among Atlantic Coast Conference schools pretty much put a halt to that carousel of change for the foreseeable future.

Of course, that's all about TV money, too.

With its Grant of Rights agreement among 15-member schools through 2027, the ACC gets control of TV money for each school - even if they were to leave the conference.

Without the motivation of additional revenue, schools no longer have a reason to prostitute themselves in the free agent world of big-time college athletics.

The agreement does not impact previously announced moves, including Maryland joining the Big Ten Conference. Still, it leaves the ACC in a strong position after adding Louisville, Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame.

In addition, the agreement keeps other programs (Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia) from seeking greener pastures. And a corresponding move comes with the discussion of some sort of ACC Network that would give the conference an additional revenue stream and control over its content, which includes the hundreds of games it would have for everything from big-time sports to their non-revenue counterparts.

Coach's connection

We're eight days removed, but it certainly ranks as the best local broadcast sports moment of the year so far, and it seems likely to retain that status as 2013 progresses.

With his turn on the Beaver Stadium public address system during the third quarter of the Blue-White Game, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien provided special access and a different-level connection for fans.

Those who benefited were the 28,000 or so in attendance so it ended up being a reward for braving the elements last Saturday.

It rates as important because it hit all those fans (probably more than listen to local sports-talk radio at a given moment) and because it was simple, smart PR for Penn State and the football program.

Not surprisingly, it was O'Brien's idea.

Of course, the fastest of all the actions last week was how quickly O'Brien unplugged himself from the microphone after his time "on air" concluded when the team scored a touchdown.

Still, it was a winning broadcast.

Tuner tidbits

n Officials from the Big Ten Network conducted a teleconference with athletic officials at Penn State three days before the Blue-White Game and asked about getting O'Brien and others to wear microphones. That did not happen for TV, though, and the closest to anything out of the ordinary for the telecast was a simulcast with the Penn State Radio Network early in the second half.

n NBC Sports will carry the 139th Kentucky Derby next Saturday. Although pre-race coverage begins at 4 p.m., post time is not until 6:25 p.m. The best part about that event - something you can see nowhere else in sports - are the on-horse, post-race interviews.

Steve Sampsell covers the broadcast side of sports. He may be contacted at talkingtvsports@gmail.com.

 
 

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