SBD/June 27, 2013/Colleges

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco Discusses Choosing Conference Name, New TV Deals

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco said when choosing the conference's new moniker, it "needed a name that was clean, fresh, that was strong, durable, wasn't gimmicky and reflected values,” according to Joseph Duarte of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Aresco: “How do you argue with American and what it represents? It didn't to us represent geography because geography can be difficult, and we didn't want to use a number. We like the term athletic and thought it also signified strength and we wanted to be called a conference and not a league.” Aresco, who formerly served as CBS Sports Exec VP/Programming, said the AAC’s new deals with ESPN and CBS Sports "essentially gave us viability as a conference." He added, "If we had not been able to do the kind of TV deals that we did, then we would have been in some real jeopardy. We feel in terms of exposure we got everything this conference needs to grow and thrive. What we didn't get was the kind of dollars we wanted or thought we would get originally, but we understand why. We had that period of instability where we had teams leaving that definitely affected certain perceptions” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/27).

CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC: In Hartford, John Altavilla notes the '14 AAC women's basketball tournament will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and the conference "will have the option to return there" in '15. The old Big East women's tourney was held at XL Center in Hartford, and the move means it “could be difficult for the capital city to get it back." However, XL Center officials "insist that they will try.” Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino CEO Mitchell Etess would not say what specific financial incentives were offered to the AAC, but the casino's operating company will assist the AAC “in promotion with its multimillion-dollar advertising and marketing initiatives, and the opportunities for corporate signs during the tournament will also bring in money” for the conference. The effort of the XL Center to “retain the tournament was hampered by the timing of the shift in management to Global Spectrum, which was awarded control of the building and of Rentschler Field in February.” XL Center GM Chris Lawrence, who will manage the venue for Global Spectrum, said, "When the contract comes around again we'll certainly be as aggressive as we possibly can to bring the women and the men" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/27).
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