The Atlantic Coast Conference didn't have its best run in this year's NCAA tournament, but North Carolina's trip to the Final Four, combined with two stellar tournaments in 2015 and 2016, will yield the conference at three-year total of more than $100 million.
Over the past three tournaments, ACC teams have accumulated 64 units from the NCAA's basketball fund, a pool set aside from the money the NCAA makes on the tournament television deal to reward conferences for advancing in the tournament. Each game played, with the exception of the title game, is worth one unit.
Each game played in this year's tournament is worth $264,859. That money is paid out over each of the next six years (2018-23), with the value for each unit increasing each year over the payout in roughly 3 percent increments. That puts this year's six-year unit payout at more than $1.7 million, or $30.6 million for the ACC's 18 units this year, a high among all conferences.
With its 21 units in 2015, the ACC became the first conference to hit the $30 million mark for one tournament, pulling in a six-year payout cycle of nearly $33 million. Last year the ACC earned 25 units, besting the conference record set by the Big East in 2009 (24), which was the most since the NCAA started the basketball distribution fund in 1991.
The ACC, like many conferences, splits the revenue equally. With 15 members, that puts the three-year tournament take for each ACC school at about $6.8 million. That's even for Boston College, which hasn't been to the NCAA tournament for the past eight seasons.
No other conference is close to the ACC in units earned over the past three tournaments. After the ACC's 64, the Big Ten is next with 47, which is worth slightly more than $75 million.
The basketball fund comes from the NCAA's broadcast deal for the tournament with Turner and CBS. The deal averages $771 million a year until 2024 and then $1.1 billion a year through 2032. Last year the basketball fund returned $205 million back to conferences.