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Is Bigger Better? ACC Expansion

This blog is not intended to criticize any personnel in the ACC corporate offices in Greensboro because from a business prospective, I feel that Commissioner John Swofford and his staff have done an excellent job in regards to league expansion.
 
I realize that most of us are under the belief that bigger is better and usually it is. But in terms of expansion of NCAA conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), is bigger always better?
 
From the business side of things each ACC member school benefits from the revenue side of things especially from football with the recent big TV contracts coming from the major sports networks.
 
According to reports from ESPN.com, the ACC had a revenue increase of about $56.6 million from the previous year, giving the conference a record $291.7 in total revenue for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
 
Also according to ESPN.com each member school received a share value of roughly $20.8 million. Keep in mind that since Notre Dame is a partial member their portion of revenue would be slightly less than the other schools.
 
Even though $291 million is more money than I'll ever make in this lifetime, in terms of revenue, the ACC still lags behind the other power conferences.
 
Still the numbers are excellent because of the increase from the previous fiscal year figures, but at what cost?
 
For example, I noticed the number of empty seats at Joel Coliseum (Winston-Salem,NC) during the Louisville vs Wake Forest basketball game earlier this week.
 
This may or may not alarm many, but I sort of expected a sell-out crowd, especially with the No. 5 team in the nation coming to town!
 
Big four tobacco road teams such as: Duke, NC State and UNC would easily sellout games with the No. 5 team in the country coming to town!
 
Even though the league benefits from big TV contracts, sooner or later, the lack of fan support in the stands will hurt schools like Wake Forest that haven’t had recent success on the court.  I am keeping it at basketball for right now! Football attendance is a story for another day!
 
Schools that haven’t had recent success on the court and lack of fan support need to find ways to motivate their fan base to come to home games! Home games generate revenue from ticket sales, concessions and memorabilia which are very beneficial for individual member schools.
 
How long will it be before the networks start complaining about half filled venues after forking out millions to the ACC and member schools?
 
When the ACC just had eight teams, most fans from all member schools were somewhat familiar with all teams because of the closeness in proximity geographical wise.

Since the league has almost doubled with a larger gap from a geographical prospective that just isn’t the case anymore.
 
Although the name brand ACC basketball schools such as Duke, UNC, Louisville and Syracuse won’t have any problems in the near future filling up their home stands, but just what if all four of these teams would be on the decline at the same time? The league would be in major trouble because the primary money makers of the league wouldn't be major attractions anymore.

What schools would carry the load? Could the ACC or any league survive such a major issue with many schools being in different regions across the country.
 
Only time will tell if bigger is better!


Please follow G.Herman on twitter @babethomherman


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