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'We're Going To Be OK': Q&A With AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco

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Aresco responds to a variety of questions  

 

'We're Going To Be OK': Q&A With AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco

 

 

By DESMOND CONNER, dconner@courant.com The Hartford Courant

10:42 a.m. EDT, May 19, 2013

 

The American Athletic Conference spring meetings begin Monday, the first gathering of its kind for the teams that make up the new league. For area basketball fans, one big question is where the men's and women's postseason tournament will take place.

 

For 10 years, the Big East women's tournament has been at the XL Center in Hartford, but there now is serious competition to take it elsewhere, including an in-state location as the Mohegan Sun bids for it.

Before taking off for Ponte Vedra, Fla., the site of the meetings, commissioner Mike Aresco sat with The Courant for nearly two hours.

 

Aresco said the league is looking at the XL Center, the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville and the Sun Dome on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa for the women's tournament. For the men's tournament, he mentioned Hartford, Mohegan Sun, The Palestra in Philadelphia, Memphis, Tampa and Atlantic City.

 

"We're undecided on whether we want to rotate it or whether we want to stay in a place for a couple years," Aresco said. "We're getting the bids together now and will have serious discussions at the league meetings, but we won't make a decision then. It will be not too long after that, but we've got good options."

 

On to other business.

 

Q: Let's get this one out of the way now, Mike: The money. There are concerns about whether there's going to be enough for the schools, the conference, to be able to compete while things get off the ground. And when you look at some of the TV contract deals the so-called "power conferences" have, seemingly, it's even more reason for concern.

 

A: We're going to be OK. We got all that money from the Catholic 7 [leaving], and their units [from the NCAA Tournament] left behind, and units from our own teams that they accumulated, and we've amicably, very smoothly, worked out a fair and equitable revenue share that will put UConn, Cincinnati, the incumbents, in good shape, and also help the newcomers. Everybody will get something. .... Our conference has a great TV deal. We don't have the kind of money we would have gotten, obviously, had we not lost the members, but we've got enough and we've got more than those other four conferences (Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American, Sun Belt) we've been compared to, and that doesn't count the CBS basketball deal. Unlike other conferences, we have kept our marketing rights with our ESPN deal and that will generate revenue for us with a football [2015] and basketball [2014] championship game. There's the BCS money. Going forward, we're part of the new playoff system, so we'll have a certain amount revenue from that system.

 

Q: You believe the six-year, $130 million deal you signed that begins next season can be renegotiated before it ends. It sounds like you're quite optimistic. Why?

A: We expect to renegotiate that deal midway through. I think ESPN knows we'll have value for them. We'll do innovative things. The Thursday-Friday windows [for football] will have real value. We got caught in a perfect storm this past November, December, and we were doing our TV deal at a time of relative instability. We've stabilized very well and I think they recognize that now.

 

Q: Can you quickly explain why it's really six years and not the reported seven years?

A: This year was a bridge year because you already had a football deal in place. We have a basketball deal that also covers this year.

 

Q: The money from the contract wasn't great; the exposure you're getting, however, is. You have to make it work for you, right, and win big nonconference games?

A: I don't think people have focused enough on how good the exposure is that they're giving us in football and basketball. For instance in basketball, I think it's 113 games of the 170 games in 2014 will be on national ESPN platforms or a few of them sub-licensed to national platforms. In addition, we're going to do our tournament. All the games will be televised. These are great deals for exposure and that is how you build your conference. In football we'll have Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We are unique in terms of doing a lot of Thursdays and Fridays, but we think since every team isn't asked to do it all the time, it works well for us. We'll do an occasional Wednesday.

 

Rest of Report

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Is this the same interview that was published a couple of weeks ago, or is he just giving the exact same answers to everyone he talks to?

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Sounds like same talk different reporter.

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:puke:

 

"We are unique in terms of doing a lot of Thursdays and Fridays, but we think since every team isn't asked to do it all the time, it works well for us. We'll do an occasional Wednesday."

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:puke:

 

"We are unique in terms of doing a lot of Thursdays and Fridays, but we think since every team isn't asked to do it all the time, it works well for us. We'll do an occasional Wednesday."

 

I agree, but in a way, it's just part of the anybody, anywhere, anytime philosophy.

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The only positive I took from that was the tournament being at the Mohegan Sun. If you get a chance, you ought to go. It's nice. But uh...the rest....you have to know that this guy isn't going to bad mouth - or even give the impression of disappointment - at how the AAC is shaping up. I'm sure he sees this the same way we do, but we're not employed by the conference, so we can rail all we want. 

 

As for 'we'll do an occasional Wednesday'. You'll do what your told to do, when your told to do it, and if that means relentless Wednesday time slots...BOHICA.

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I must confess ... the first image that popped into my head after reading the thread title was:

 

 

:  07-minister.jpg

 

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good read, its really hard to be positive about the aac but these types of interviews makes it a bit easier.

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