By Adam Harris-
CHICAGO (CBS) Today at Maggiano’s downtown, Depaul University introduced new Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco to Chicago.
Aresco didn’t seem concerned on the future of his conference despite the loss of Syracuse (basketball and football), University of Pittsburgh (football and basketball), and Notre Dame (basketball) to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
“There’s no question in my mind that this conference has unique attributes,” Aresco said. “Yet, unfortunately when you have a few setbacks everybody tends to focus on those.”
He was very adamant with his focus on basketball as a staple of the conference, and possibly to continue to carry the conference.
“We have the crown jewel in Madison Square Garden,” Aresco emphasized. “We just need to tell our story which is backed up by imperial evidence.”
It is a real concern though, that along with a few of the Big East’s schools, the ACC is after that “crown jewel” for their conference tournament.
“That (keeping Madison Square Garden) is clearly a priority for us,” Aresco reassured. “We’ve been working with The Garden. We currently have a long term deal in place for another four years. We’ve been working with The Garden on an expansion and talks have been going very well.”
Aresco’s strength is in his background in television. He worked for ESPN since basically its beginnings, and most recently worked for CBS Sports. He emphasized the importance of a continued television presence to keep this conference relevant.
“We are in an exclusive negotiating period with ESPN that runs through October,” Aresco said. “We grew up with them and they grew up with us. We offer the TV networks a lot, and we will be creative because, as you know, other conferences have their own networks.”
DePaul is appreciated by Aresco for its tradition and market. DePaul is extremely important to Aresco for the loyal fans it brings in despite the lack of a football program.
“We’ve got over 300 basketball games and almost 20 tournament games,” said Aresco. “We have almost 100 football games. We have a lot of really quality product to not only offer our media partners, but to make our impact nationally.”