Big East Press Conference: Analyzing New Commish Mike Aresco's 3 Main Points
Newly named Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco wasted no time laying out the major issues he plans to tackle as the head of the conference. During his introductory presser, Aresco mentioned the league having to write its own story as freshly minted national conference.
The new head man also stressed the importance of the new media rights deal getting done, and he touched on the need for a major bowl deal to keep the Big East in that "Big Six" group of conferences.
The former television executive is spot on when discussing the three most pressing issues with respect to the Big East's future. While he brushed off possible expansion or the loss of teams, he hammered home his big three points.
In writing its own narrative, the league is going to push to get out of the shadows in the future. As things stand right now the Big East is the forgotten league. The other leagues are talking about a "Big Five," and as the Big East transitions, people are wondering how they can claw their way into prominence following the losses of Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and a TCU team that never set foot in the league.
The good thing for Aresco, as he mentioned, is they're now a national conference. Teams in every time zone means they will have the eyes of not just the Eastern seaboard on them, but also media outlets across the country. With places like Houston, Dallas, Orlando, San Diego joining Cincinnati, New York and New Jersey, the conference has a chance to replace the regional pull it had with a more national narrative.
From a football perspective, that national narrative will have to be shaped with wins. Off the field, Mike Aresco is going to work to shape that story through his two other points, the media rights deal and getting a major bowl tie-in.
On the media rights front, Aresco is the guy. As we mentioned yesterday, he's got a wealth of experience in the valuation of the product and negotiating deals to maximize that value. Aresco discussed as much in his presser, hitting both on making the Big East a "state of the art" conference and how much value the Big East product truly possesses.
State of the art, with the evolution of television and multimedia platforms, screams a technology push. Not just a television deal but a deal that includes and makes use of the value to be obtained through non-traditional avenues. Streaming content, applications for mobile devices and working with technology to lead the way instead of waiting on others to grow that revenue stream. As the man who captained the "March Madness On Demand" movement, the Big East is in good hands in that regard.
While there is no benchmark in terms of dollars, the plain fact is Aresco has to close the gap. Get the cash right so that his teams are able to compete in the arms race that is collegiate athletics.
Another part of that national narrative and cash grab to put money in the member institutions' coffers is the bowl deal. The conference is desperately in need a bowl site. This is going to be Mike Aresco's biggest hurdle to leap.
Which task will be the most difficult for Mike Aresco to accomplish?
Unlike the other Big Five conferences, the Big East has never truly had a "home" bowl site. Its champion floated between the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls. It was a great move at times as they got intriguing matchups out of the deal. Now, in the current climate, the league is in need of a home site to level the playing field with its current BCS counterparts.
Of Aresco's three major tasks, the media rights deal seems to be the easiest to get done. It is also the most pressing. He's got experience in that arena, and because he is a forward-thinking commissioner, expect the Big East to come out pleased with their balance of national exposure and cash money flowing in.
The bowl deal seems to be the most daunting as he must find a way to get a major game to tie itself to the Big East. We've suggested the Fiesta Bowl as a play to the national angle of the league and a way for the Fiesta Bowl to remain viable as the Big 12 pulls its champion in favor of the Champions Bowl.
As for the national narrative, this is going to be an ongoing process that requires work both on and off the field. Getting wins is a must, but so too is growing the exposure, influence and positive vibes of the conference when it comes to being among the nation's elite.
The money from the media deal is a must, the Big East has to keep its best coaches to grow success on the field. That success is what will keep the conference in that Big Six that it so desperately wants to remain a part of.
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