The nearly 60-year-old ACC men’s basketball tournament is likely to have a corporate title sponsor for the first time next spring. Under a new deal between the ACC and ESPN, the network can sell the real estate, much as Dr. Pepper is attached to the conference’s football championship game.
The rights come as part of an extension of an ACC-ESPN deal that runs through 2026-27. ESPN also can also sell title sponsorships to the other ACC championships, including the women’s basketball tournament. The sponsorship arrangements are subject to conference approval.
On the content front, the deal gives ESPN rights to an additional 30 ACC men’s basketball games a year as Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the conference. In football, it can carry three Friday night games a year with Syracuse and Boston College each hosting one.
The deal will place ACC content on a slew of platforms from ESPN3D to ESPN3 to ESPN GamePlan.
The ACC men’s tournament has been held annually since 1954 and has featured memorable match-ups involving Duke and North Carolina, but has lost luster in recent years as the NCAA tournament’s prominence has risen.