In today’s college climate, it’s all about the money. For the ACC, having five of the Sweet 16 teams still in the big dance equals quite a hefty payday for the league.
The NCAA pays conferences for the performances of their teams in a tournament over a six-year time period beginning in the following year. Teams earn a unit per game played with the exception of the championship game, which is not included.
Next year’s units are worth $260,525 each and will increase in value over the next five years they are collected through 2021. That means each game played in this year’s tournament is worth at least $1.56 million.
The five ACC teams in the Sweet 16 have already played in 12 games for 12 units. They’re guaranteed another six for playing their Sweet 16 games, adding in the fact that Louisville playing NC State means that one has to win and get a unit for an Elite Eight game.
The old Big East earned the most units in a single tournament in 2009 when it finished with 24 total units. That year, five of its teams played in the Sweet 16, four advanced to the Elite Eight and two to the Final Four.
The ACC, which splits its units equally among conference members, has a chance to reach 26 units in this tournament based on how the bracket breaks down. That would not only result in the ACC being the first conference to earn more than $30 million off one tournament, it will also surpass $40 million.