Monday, June 16, 2003

ACC expansion thoughts

I've been following the ACC expansion story for the past few weeks, and I've got to say I'm cautiously optimistic about what I'm hearing. I heartily support the addition of Miami to the league. That will make the ACC a serious football power and force the other teams in the league to work hard to stay competitive.

However, I really have to wonder what Syracuse or Boston College could bring to the league other than big TV markets. Granted, a Syracuse-Duke basketball game would be a big draw, but I think it'll be hard to get too excited about teams that are geographically so far away from the rest of the league.

I know it's all about the money, and I'm sure that will drive all other considerations aside, but I think an argument can be made that adding Virginia Tech could help guarantee at least one large TV market. Let me explain.

I live in Northern Virginia, and can personally attest to the huge number of Virginia Tech grads and fans in this area. I see more bumper stickers for Tech than UVA, and their fans are a much larger presence at sports bars than the Wahoos' are. A lot of the opposition to Virginia Tech joining the league is based on the idea that Roanoke is a relatively small TV market, but I think that misses the point. Virginia Tech enjoys huge statewide support, and Northern Virginia is overwhelmingly the largest population center in the state. Furthermore, Northern Virginia is part of the D.C.-Baltimore market, which is something like the fourth-biggest MSA in the country.

In short, games involving UVA, Maryland and Virginia Tech would be big TV draws in the D.C. market.

I think any expansion the ACC makes should at least make sense regionally. Adding Virginia Tech along with Miami would ensure that, as well as locking up the D.C. market.

Then again, just adding Miami would be OK, too.

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