Conference hooked to cabler through 2027

ESPN has extended its broadcast deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference through the 2026-27 season.

The agreement has been said to be worth approximately $3.6 billion for 15 years, averaging out to $17 million per school for the conference, which is poised to expand to 14 members. That figure is about 30% higher than ACC schools had been receiving in their previous deal with ESPN.

Going forward, ESPN will broadcast 32 more men’s basketball games per year (including two additional conference tournament games) from the conference that boasts North Carolina and Duke universities, as well as 14 more football games — three on Fridays.

In addition, the cabler, which has televised ACC content since 1979, is boosting its coverage of men’s and women’s Olympic sports in the ACC. Games will be available on multiple platforms.

ESPN acquired title sponsorship rights (subject to ACC approval) to all conference championships, which means that the ACC men’s basketball tourney could soon have a title sponsor for the first time in its 59-year history.

In May 2010, the ACC and ESPN signed a 12-year deal worth $1.86 billion that extended through 2023. Since that time, it was announced that the universities of Pittsburgh and Syracuse would move from the Big East to the ACC, a transfer expected to be completed by 2013. In addition, the cost of sports rights in general has escaladed dramatically — for example, the soon-to-launch Pacific 12 Conference Network signed a deal with ESPN and Fox in May 2011 worth $3 billion over 12 years.

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