Longtime CBS Sports executive Mike Aresco, who has negotiated TV contracts with many sports rights holders, is moving to the other side of the table. Aresco has been tapped
as the commissioner of the troubled Big East Conference, which is set to begin TV negotiations.
The executive vice president of programming at CBS Sports has worked on deals and operations regarding March Madness, the SEC and other college programming. He also helped turn CSTV into the CBS Sports Network.
The Big East has lost several teams to other conferences and has taken on West Coast teams as a way to keep itself viable as a football league. Aresco does have a major plus in his favor: National and regional sports networks are increasingly hungry to obtain programming; the Big East offers premiere basketball.
Word came Monday that the Big East has hired Bevilacqua Helvant Ventures, along with former CAA Sports Media Ventures chief Chris Bevilacqua, to lead its TV negotiations.
Aresco starts his new role next month, which will also include navigating the changing landscape of college football to ensure the Big East maintains an automatic bid in the Bowl Championship Series.
At CBS, Aresco played a role in forming a partnership with Turner to hold onto March Madness rights. Also noteworthy is CBS’ role in helping the SEC reach its current football prominence. Arguably, CBS carrying a league game nationally every Saturday has been a major factor in the SEC winning multiple national championships in a row.
University of Connecticut President and head of the Big East search committee Greg Williams said it was “truly an international search” and called Aresco’s ”breadth of experience and depth of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics” are assets.
Aresco, a lawyer with a degree from UConn, joined CBS Sports in 1996 and was promoted to his current role in 2008. Aresco has also worked at ESPN, which has carried Big East basketball since 1979.