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Report: AAC, ESPN reach new media-rights deal

The new agreement could pay USF up to $5 million more per year
In this Aug. 4, 2015, file photo, American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco addresses the media during an NCAA football media day in Newport, R.I. (AP Photo/Stew Milne, File)
Published Mar. 19

The American Athletic Conference reportedly has agreed to a new 12-year, $1 billion media-rights deal with ESPN that will represent a windfall of sorts for each of its member schools including USF.

Sports Business Journal reported Tuesday the new deal will pay the 6-year-old conference $83.3 million annually, four times more than the previous one that expires after the 2019-20 season.

The annual per-school average comes to $6.94 million, nearly $5 million more annually for each institution, according to SBJ.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco declined comment on the media-rights negotiations during a media conference call last week. Bulls athletic director Michael Kelly declined comment.

While a significant increase from its current media-rights contract, the AAC’s reported new deal still pales in comparison to those of Power Five conferences. Thanks to lavish media-rights deals that include conference networks, per-school payouts in some Power Five leagues reportedly are nearing $50 million.

The SBJ reported that AAC schools declined to sign a grant-of-rights, which would have greatly restricted any attempt to jump to a Power Five conference.


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