Andrea Adelson recently reported on ESPN.com that the Big East has hired Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures to aid it in negotiating its television rights package. Led by the founder of CSTV, Chris Bevilacqua, the group will be working with Evolution Media Capital to help the conference get the most out of its television deal.
Most recently, Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures worked to get a rights deal done between the Pac-12 and Rose Bowl. So it has experience in the college realm. It also has worked with Major League Baseball teams. In short, it's no stranger to maximizing deals, getting its clients paid and improving exposure.
However, for the Big East, the track record of Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures is merely icing on the cake. The acquisition is the big move for the conference. The Big East is a conference that is transitioning in leadership, trying to find its way to future stability, all while negotiating the most important television deal in its history.
Right now, the league doesn't have a John Swofford, who stepped up to try to help save the ACC. It doesn't have a Larry Scott, who got the Pac-12 all sorts of cash with its network, the Rose Bowl deal and their ESPN-Fox contract. It doesn't have a Mike Slive, who is at the table now, trying to find a way to grow his cash after adding Mizzou and Texas A&M to the SEC.
The league doesn't even have a Chuck Neinas as an interim commissioner who can still pump the networks to elevate the cash flow and galvanize the league. Joe Bailey, the Big East's interim commissioner, is not in a position to do what any of the other commissioners already did this year; elevate their leagues.
So, yes, hiring the firm is a great move. The Big East needs to suck every ounce of cash out of this deal. It must must leave no penny unclaimed at the negotiation table. It has to explore every avenue and every platform.
NBC has been reported as the leader for the TV rights in what would be a sweet deal. Let's hope Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures can help make the deal even sweeter.