SBD/April 16, 2014/Colleges

Aresco Bullish On AAC's Future In Post-BCS Era Despite Less Guaranteed TV, Bowl Money

The AAC includes a Fiesta Bowl win among its achievements in its first year
While the five top college football conferences have "cobbled together their power and TV value into a cartel that now dominates the sport," AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said that his league "isn’t going away," according to Kevin McNamara of the PROVIDENCE JOURNAL. Aresco "can’t speak more proudly about his league" after its first season produced a BCS bowl win and national championships in men's and women's basketball. Aresco said, "I really did think we had this type of potential, just maybe not this soon. ... Our football is only going to keep getting better. There is a lot of potential there." However, McNamara notes the AAC will "ultimately sink or swim if it can succeed on the gridiron." While the conference "owns a TV contract that dominates ESPN’s Thursday and Friday night windows," the BCS system is gone and the AAC "no longer gets a guaranteed spot in the marquee New Year’s Day bowls." The conference is "due to take a major hit" in both TV and bowl money under the new system and "while that reality isn’t about to change these schools all chase big football dreams." Meanwhile, Aresco said that he has "come to enjoy Providence" since taking over the conference in '12. Aresco: "Providence is a great city and we've kept the majority of our staff and no one is looking to move. Our membership didn't see any reason to move the office and lose some great staff members." McNamara notes the AAC has a "long-term lease" in Providence (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 4/16).

LOOOKING FOR SOMETHING PERMANENT: Central Florida Sports Commission President & CEO John Bisignano said that Orlando "needs to sell slightly less than 10,000 tickets per day to turn a profit" when the city hosts the AAC men's basketball tournament in '16 and '17. In Orlando, Paul Tenorio notes a large "chunk of those tickets are pre-purchased by the conference's athletic programs." City officials also said that they are "anticipating the tournament will lead to 6,000 hotel room reservations" and about $5.6M in economic impact. Aresco said that the "strong bid from the city prompted the league to agree" to the two-year deal. Aresco said, "We think it's a great place to be, it's a great destination for our fans. I think in March, people will come, obviously UCF is building its program, you have a beautiful state-of-the-art arena. ... If it goes really well, maybe our fans will want to stay here and make it a permanent home" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/16).
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AAC, Colleges

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