ESPN/ABC is nearing a rights deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference, reflective of its expanding football footprint.
The pact, which could be valued in excess of $250 million, would extend through 2010 and supercede an extant agreement covering the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Negotiations have been spurred by the addition of Virginia Tech and the University of Miami for the 2004 season and Boston College the following year, when the then-12-team ACC will host its first championship game, which would be televised on ABC.
ESPN/ABC executives are scheduled to meet with ACC officials in Greensboro, N.C., Feb.19 and 20 to finalize the pact. IMG is handling the conference’s rights negotiations.
"We’re getting closer to a deal," an ESPN spokesman said. "At the meeting next week, we will be discussing a wide range of issues."
If consummated, the agreement could double the number of games on ESPN and ESPN2 to 18 per season, including six on Thursday nights -- a window in which the total-sports network has seen growth in recent seasons.
Deal points also center around pay-per-view, video-on-demand and high-definition rights.