The fact that the new Big East "will be up and running for the 2013-14 college season is largely due to two factors: The high degree of collegiality among the schools’ athletic directors, who each took responsibility for the scheduling and logistics of a sport, and the high energy" of Commissioner Val Ackerman, according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. Before Ackerman was hired, the conference's seven ADs worked with former Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe "to tackle the day-to-day duties normally handled by a league office." They held "weekly conference calls and mapped out the collective workflow, much like a construction manager does in planning the building of a house from site preparation to completion." Georgetown AD Lee Reed said, "We listed all of the things that we thought we needed to address, down to the nitty-gritty, to be up and running in the summer for the new league. Then we prioritized the list so our work was done at the right time." Clarke noted the conference presidents "fought to keep the Big East name and the right to continue staging the men’s conference tournament at Madison Square Garden." However, it will be "a challenge to draw the same, passionate crowds" without Syracuse or UConn. Ackerman said, "I think we can build around that event -- make it more than a series of basketball games and package it with other events leading in." Meanwhile, Ackerman has "hired two former Big East officials," including longtime Associate Commissioner/Communications John Paquette. She "hopes to complete the conference staff in the next 30 to 60 days." It will include a "business division that will focus on marketing, branding, communication and cultivating corporate sponsors." Among its "more pressing tasks" is launching the conference's website (WASHINGTON POST, 7/29).
The Univ. of Miami's new football season-ticket sales "have already doubled last season's," with "about 8,000 new seats" sold so far, according to Michael Casagrande of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. UM's renewal percentage is over 80%, and numbers overall are "up roughly" 20% from '12. While the school is not releasing full sales numbers, officials are "confident they'll sell 30,000 season tickets this season." Packages "start at $98," and the school's Sept. 7 home game against the Univ. of Florida is "moving the meter more than anything." UM "sold/distributed an average of 47,719 tickets last season -- down from the 56,207 in 2011 that's the high of the first five seasons in Sun Life Stadium" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 7/29). Meanwhile, in Honolulu, Ferd Lewis noted the Univ. of Hawaii will soon begin offering 50% discounts on select football and women's volleyball tickets in an "effort to pick up slack from some badly slumping season-ticket sales." The "Go Green, Save Green" campaign will be "available online only and in limited periods" through Aug. 28. UH said that it will offer the discounts "for up to eight tickets" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 7/29).
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control has issued the Univ. of Toledo "a permit to sell alcohol on campus, freeing Rocket supporters to imbibe at home football and basketball games beginning this fall," according to Ryan Autullo of the Toledo BLADE. Alcohol previously was "available only to visitors of the press tower of the Glass Bowl and the suite area at Savage Arena." Toledo is "believed to be the 23rd school in major college football and the fourth Mid-American Conference school to sell alcohol at home games." Bowling Green State Univ., which "made the move in football three years ago, brings in as much as $25,000 a year from alcohol sales." Toledo AD Mike O'Brien said that "tapping into a new revenue stream was among several factors in Toledo’s decision." O'Brien: "The financial piece is clearly a part of it, but it could also create for ... a more entertaining experience during our events." He stressed that "safeguards will be in place to limit unruly and illegal behavior." Autullo noted Budweiser, Coors and Michelob "figure to be on the concession stand menu" at the school (Toledo BLADE, 7/29).