American Athletic Conference Finalizes Exit Fee Distribution; Tourney Headed To Memphis?
American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco yesterday during the first day of the conference's spring meetings said that it has "ironed out a plan to split the conference's lucrative pot of exit and entrance fees," which are reportedly worth as much as $110M, according to Greg Auman of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. While previous reports had incumbent schools USF, Cincinnati and UConn receiving as much as $30M each, the "compromised figure is likely less substantial." Aresco said, "There were a lot of predictions (that) it would be rancorous, all that money. It turned out to be extremely smooth. We made a fair and equitable distribution plan for the realignment money and the (NCAA) units left behind. Everybody's very happy with it" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/21). In Orlando, Paul Tenorio notes the agenda on the first day of the AAC's spring meetings was "branding and messaging for a conference Aresco classified both as 'reinvented' and 'a blank canvas.'" The AAC will look to "simultaneously sell itself by noting the history of some of its programs while introducing others to a larger stage." Coaches and ADs yesterday were "shown a conference logo and marks, though they will not be unveiled until next week at the earliest." Meanwhile, Aresco said, "We're not worried about any more realignment. If there is more realignment, let the chips fall where they may. We are worried about whether we are a top conference. We know we're a challenger. We're not going to be viewed the same way as maybe the Big Ten or the SEC, we know that. But the point is we know we can challenge, and we know we're right there" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/21).
A PLACE TO CALL HOME: In Hartford, Paul Doyle notes the "site selection for the postseason basketball tournaments" will be among the topics as the AAC's spring meetings continue today. But Aresco said that the conference "won't make a decision this week" (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/21). ESPN.com's Andy Katz reports the "early frontrunner" for the '14 men's basketball tournament is the FedExForum in Memphis (ESPN.com, 5/21). Aresco "mentioned Hartford, Mohegan Sun, The Palestra in Philadelphia, Memphis, Tampa and Atlantic City" as possible host sites for the men's basketball tournament. He said, "We're undecided on whether we want to rotate it or whether we want to stay in a place for a couple of years." Aresco said that the conference is "looking at" the XL Center, the Mohegan Sun Arena and the Sun Dome for the women's basketball tournament (COURANT.com, 5/19).
TV TALKIN' SONG: Aresco said of the AAC's TV contract with ESPN, "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" (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/20). In Memphis, Kyle Veazey writes the conference "didn't get the kind of revenue it wanted out of a television deal ... but it did get an increased amount of its events on television." The AAC has a TV deal that "runs through the end of this decade, but Aresco hopes increased visibility and viable programs will allow the conference to revisit the contract midway through its duration." Aresco said that the league in the meantime is "working on unspecified innovations with its broadcast presentation, all because the league has to take risks" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/21).