By Curtis Eichelberger and Scott Soshnick Bloomberg News
NEW YORK - The Big East Conference hired CBS Sports executive vice president of programming Mike Aresco as its commissioner, while it prepares for television contract talks.
Aresco, 62, was the unanimous choice of the league’s university presidents, according to a statement on the Big East website.
Aresco has been with CBS since 1996 and was responsible for college programming at CBS Sports and the CBS College Sports Network. He also managed the division’s college sports properties, including negotiating contracts for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
“We had many outstanding candidates, but we are fortunate to have Mike Aresco as our new commissioner,” University of Cincinnati President Greg Williams, who headed the search committee, said in the statement. “His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics will continue to move the Big East forward on a successful path.”
The Big East enters negotiations with Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN on a new television contract Sept. 1 and needed an executive with media experience to replace former commissioner John Marinatto, who resigned last spring. Joe Bailey has filled the job on an interim basis.
The conference is seeking to at least double revenue in its next television contract, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti said this year without disclosing a dollar figure. TheBig East rejected a $155 million annual deal with ESPN last year.
The Big East also hired Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures as the lead negotiator in its television negotiations, the conference said in a statement.
Co-founder Chris Bevilacqua led the media negotiations for the Rose Bowl game this year and for the Pac-12 Conference, which will be launching its own 24-hour network.
Prior to forming Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures with partner Adam Helfant, Bevilacqua was chairman and chief executive officer of Creative Artists Agency’s Sports Media Ventures. Before that, he founded CSTV, the first 24-hour cable television network dedicated to college and amateur sports, which was later bought by CBS and turned into the CBS Sports Network.