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Mike Aresco named Big East commissioner
The Big East lost West Virginia, along with member-to-be TCU, to the Big 12 this year. Syracuse and Pittsburgh depart for the Atlantic Coast Conference next year.
Temple rejoined the Big East on short notice this year to replace West Virginia.
Six new members are scheduled to join the Big East next year, including Boise State and San Diego State for football only, to create a coast-to-coast, 12-team football conference.
Also set to join in 2013 are Memphis, Central Florida, Houston and SMU.
Navy has committed to join the conference in 2015, and the Big East will eventually be in the market for another school to give it 14 football members when the Midshipmen join.
But first up is securing a TV contract. On Sept. 1, ESPN and the Big East begin a 60-day exclusive negotiating period. If they don’t work out a deal, the Big East’s media rights go on the open market.
Temple Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw said Aresco is “invaluable” to the Big East.
“If you look at the Big East, although it’s changed, it’s added markets,” he said. “It’s added televisions; it’s added eyeballs. Look at Orlando, Dallas, Houston, San Diego. Then you add a competitive icon like Boise, you can see where the media rights and how that’s negotiated are going to be critical. I see the media rights becoming increased exponentially. Mike Aresco certainly is more than valuable in that kind of negotiation.”
A year ago, the Big East turned down an offer to extend its contract with ESPN, reportedly for about $1.4 billion over nine years. Within months, Syracuse and Pitt announced they were leaving. West Virginia bolted soon after.
Meanwhile, the Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC have all locked up long-term multibillion deals. The Pac-12’s landmark deal was worth $3 billion over 12 years.
The Big East pitched the promise of a big pay day from its next TV contract to its future members, and is hoping that being the last conference on the market with some new buyers, such as NBC, will work in its favor.
On Monday, the Big East hired the sports media firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures, led by Chris Bevilacqua, who helped negotiate the Pac-12’s deal.
The league followed that up by hiring Aresco, who has made a long successful career of negotiating some of the biggest television deals in college sports.
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia contributed.
By Tammy Bruce
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