Florida State Mascot
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Chief Osceola and Renegade, the Florida State Seminoles mascot, during the Cheez-It Bowl between the Florida State Seminoles and Oklahoma Sooners on December 29, 2022 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

Navigating the Conference Realignment Waters: Florida State’s Path Forward

The landscape of college athletics is rapidly changing, with conference realignment becoming increasingly common. In a recent episode of the Irrational Confidence Podcast, the hosts delved into the topic, exploring the numerous movements that have taken place in recent years as well as more potential moves that may be on the horizon.

This summer, the Big 12 will be adding UCF, Cincinnati, BYU, and Houston to its ranks, while the Big 10 is set to welcome USC and UCLA next year. Meanwhile, Texas and Oklahoma are slated to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. Florida State is also exploring its options outside of the ACC, having already held preliminary discussions with the SEC and Big 10.

During a recent General Board Meeting with the FSU Board of Trustees, Athletic Director Michael Alford made a compelling case for the Seminoles to join a different conference. According to Alford, Florida State consistently draws 70% more viewers than the average ACC school, ranking 14th in the nation in viewership from 2014-2022, excluding the ACC Network.

The team’s games have attracted over four million viewers 17 times during that period, with three of those occurring in 2022 alone. For example, FSU’s victory against LSU brought in 7.6 million viewers, making it the third-most viewed Sunday Night Game on record for ABC. Similarly, the team’s Black Friday win over Florida attracted nearly seven million viewers, making it the highest-rated game on the day after Thanksgiving since 2011 and the most watched game on that day since 2005.

Despite this impressive viewership, FSU and Clemson only represent 51% of all 4M+ viewership games in the ACC from 2014-22, but only receive 24% of the overall media agreement with the ACC. FSU earns only 7% of the revenue distribution from the conference, despite representing 15% of the ACC media agreement.

To address this disparity, Alford is proposing a revenue distribution model that considers “who you are, how you produce, how you play, and what your brand is,” which he is working on with other Athletic Directors in the conference.

However, even with this model, the gap between the ACC and the SEC/Big 10 could approach $30 million or more per year until 2036, when the ACC conference’s Grant of Rights agreement is set to expire. Currently, the distributions per member for the new media deals for the Big 10 ($80 million) and SEC ($72 million) far outweigh what Florida State receives every year.

While the ACC’s Grant of Rights doesn’t end for another 13 years, every other Power5 conference will go to market at least once before that agreement expires. The Big 10’s new deal will begin in 2023 and run until 2030, while the SEC’s new deal will start in 2024 and end in 2034. The Big 12’s new deal begins in 2025 and ends in 2031. The only question mark at this point is the PAC-12, which is currently negotiating a new TV deal. Alford expects the deal to be finalized in the next two weeks, or other conferences like the Big 10 or Big 12 could try to lure the PAC-12 away.

About Drew

Sports fan sharing random thoughts and opinions. #Browns #LetEmKnow #Buckeyes #TarHeels

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