SBD/March 12, 2014/Colleges

Aresco Happy With First Year Of AAC, As Football, Hoops Exceed Expectations

Aresco says the conference has more talks planned with ESPN about its TV deal
As the American Athletic Conference opens its first men's basketball tournament today, Commissioner Mike Aresco believes that AAC football and basketball "have exceeded all expectations and provided what he calls 'tremendous values' to the TV networks and other conference partners," according to Zack McMillin of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Aresco said of the league's first season of men's basketball, "In some ways you could say it's been spectacularly successful because we've delivered enormous value to our TV partners. We've had good game after good game down the stretch. It's been one after another on ESPN, or CBS or CBS Sports Network or ESPN2 or other ESPN platforms." He said of the league's six-year TV contract with ESPN, "It's really a short-term deal. We didn't do a 12- or 15-year deal like some other conferences did. But we are looking for ways we can enhance value in basketball." Aresco added, "We'll be talking to ESPN about the future. ... We've already set up some meetings. They've been great. They've been over-delivering in terms of exposure." Meanwhile, Aresco addressed conference realignment and said it "seems like the realignment landscape has finally stabilized." Aresco: "The landscape could be in place. I would say to fans and supporters, the landscape could be stable for a long time -- let's build this league. Let's get behind the league, let's get behind the teams." Aresco also touched on building the AAC's name, saying, "We've got to build our brand. We've got to build our identity. ... But I can't tell you how important it is to be on all these ESPN and CBS platforms, to see our logo which has been extremely well received." He added, "The name has really resonated. It feels big. It lends itself to a nickname, The American, and an acronym we don't even use" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 3/11).
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