The Big East Conference has named former CBS vice president Mike Aresco as its new commissioner.
The league officially announced the news in an afternoon press release.
At CBS Sports, Aresco has been responsible for all college programming for the Network. In addition, he has been involved with the strategic development of CBS Sports Network programming. He joined CBS Sports as Vice President, Programming, in 1996 and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2000 and named Executive Vice President, Programming in 2008. He is responsible for managing the division's college sports properties, including contract negotiations and future acquisitions for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, regular-season college basketball and football bowl games. He also has been responsible for administering the network's various NCAA properties.
Aresco was instrumental in negotiating the CBS Television Network's current landmark agreement with the NCAA granting CBS Sports and Turner Sports exclusive rights to the NCAA Men's Basketball through 2024 and the Network's historic 15-year deal with the SEC.
Before CBS Sports, Aresco worked at ESPN where he was responsible for overseeing the acquisition, scheduling and development of long-term strategies for all of ESPN and ESPN2 college sports properties. He joined ESPN in 1984 and was named Assistant General Counsel in 1988 before moving to the ESPN programming department.
The hiring of Aresco would seem to indicate that the Big East is making television, and league's next TV contract, priority No. 1.
Since the Big East turned down a reported contract from ESPN, the ACC has signed a 15-year, $3.6 billion contract extension with ESPN, the Big 12 has signed a $1.2 billion contract with Fox, and ESPN and Fox have partnered for a joint deal with the Pac-12 worth $3 billion over 15 years.
As much as we'd all like to wish otherwise, television is a major, major factor in all of this realignment nonsense. With that being the current climate, it's difficult to argue with the rationale behind the hiring of Aresco.