CBS Executive Joins Big East Conference as Commissioner

By Community | August 15, 2012

The Big East confeence has hired CBS executive vice president Mike Aresco to be commissioner of a conference.

Aresco has been a vice president in charge of programming for CBS since 1996. He’s handled the network’s contract negotiations with the NCAA for the rights to the men’s basketball tournament. He also negotiated CBS’s 15-year deal with the Southeastern Conference. 

Aresco, a Connecticut native who resides in Southport, Conn., has never worked for a conference or university, but his experience lies in the field where the Big East needs the most help. 

“I’m not daunted by it all. I embrace the challenge,” Aresco told the AP in a telephone interview. “I would not be on the sidelines. I believe the reconstituted conference really has vast potential.”

The conference is in transition and will begin crucial negotiations on a new television contract in September. The defections of longtime members West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse cost former Commissioner John Marinatto his job earlier this year.

“It would be hard to overstate it,” Aresco said of the importance of the next TV contract. “I consider it job one. All eyes are going to be on it. I’m not making any predictions, but I’m very confident our value is going to be recognized and maximized.”

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 the Big East 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. 

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.