Mike Aresco Named BIG EAST Conference Commissioner

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Mike Aresco and Gregory Williams
Mike Aresco and Gregory Williams
Athletics News |

Aug. 15, 2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I.- Mike Aresco, Executive Vice President, Programming of CBS Sports, has been named Commissioner of The BIG EAST Conference. The appointment was made by a unanimous vote of the league's Presidents.

Aresco will assume Commissioner's duties in early September.

"The search to identify the new Commissioner of The BIG EAST Conference was truly an international search," said Greg Williams, University of Cincinnati President and Chair of the Commissioner Search Committee. "We had many outstanding candidates, but we are fortunate to have Mike Aresco as our new Commissioner. His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics will continue to move the BIG EAST forward on a successful path. The BIG EAST has enjoyed a great history. Mike Aresco will help assure the conference of a vibrant future."

"The search committee identified some truly outstanding candidates and we are most pleased that Mike Aresco will be the person who will take the BIG EAST to future success," said Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President and Chair of the BIG EAST CEO Executive Committee. "He has all of the characteristics that we need in a Commissioner. His career has been filled with achievement and success in intercollegiate sports. Mike Aresco knows the BIG EAST and he has a great vision for our future."

"The Presidents have acted very responsibly," said Interim Commissioner Joe Bailey. "They have appointed a leader with integrity, intelligence and energy. Bravo!"

At CBS Sports, Aresco has been responsible for all college programming for the Network. In addition, he has been involved with the strategic development of CBS Sports Network programming. He joined CBS Sports as Vice President, Programming, in 1996 and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2000 and named Executive Vice President, Programming in 2008. He is responsible for managing the division's college sports properties, including contract negotiations and future acquisitions for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, regular-season college basketball and football bowl games. He also has been responsible for administering the network's various NCAA properties.

Aresco was instrumental in negotiating the CBS Television Network's current landmark agreement with the NCAA granting CBS Sports and Turner Sports exclusive rights to the NCAA Men's Basketball through 2024 and the Network's historic 15-year deal with the SEC.

Before CBS Sports, Aresco worked at ESPN where he was responsible for overseeing the acquisition, scheduling and development of long-term strategies for all of ESPN and ESPN2 college sports properties. He joined ESPN in 1984 and was named Assistant General Counsel in 1988 before moving to the ESPN programming department.

Aresco is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Tufts University (B.A., magna cum laude, history); the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (M.A., international relations), where he held a John Moors Cabot Fellowship, and the University of Connecticut Law School (J.D.).

A native of Middletown, Conn., Aresco lives in Southport, Conn., with his wife Sharon. They have two sons, Matthew, who operates his own television production company and Brett, an aspiring actor in New York City.

During an extensive search process, Russell Reynolds Associates and the BIG EAST met with many individuals, and regardless of their interest in the position, all provided valuable insight and were instrumental to the search and the decision made by the BIG EAST. Russell Reynolds Associates would like to thank all of the individuals it spoke with for their willingness and enthusiasm to participate in the process, and Russell Reynolds Associates was pleased to assist the BIG EAST in naming their new Commissioner.

What is being said about Michael Aresco’s hiring as BIG EAST commissioner:

What does today’s news, combined with yesterday’s mean for the Big East? Well, conference convinced 2 very successful guys to get on board. – Ralph D. Russo, AP

In a step forward for a conference that is scrapping to maintain their footing in the face of transition. Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Big East had retained the services of Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures to work on negotiating their television contract. Now, with the hire of Aresco, the conference has another foothold in the television marketplace that understands how the game is played and who will work to get every penny off the table. – Michael Felder, Bleacher Report

This is a big win for the Big East. There is little doubt that the league will be successful in their negotiations at this point. Expect Aresco and the Bevilacqua firm to suck the marrow out of the contract negotiations and work to not only increase Big East exposure, but to spread that exposure across multiple platforms. – Michael Felder, Bleacher Report

The people in charge of the re-imagined Big East Conference promised to go beyond the obvious in searching for their next commissioner, and they delivered on that pledge in selecting CBS Sports executive vice president Mike Aresco. – Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News

I’ve known Mike a long time. I think he’s talented. He’s bright. He’s got incredible people skills. He’ll be a great person for people in the office to work with. – Mike Tranghese, former BIG EAST Commissioner

In hiring CBS Sports programming vice president Mike Aresco, the conference not only reworked the model, it created a new one. A major network exec leaving to become a commissioner? It hasn't happened. It doesn't happen. Until Tuesday. The slap-hitter known as the Big East hit the shot heard around college athletics. At least as far as commissioners go. Let's put this in perspective. A top executive of perhaps the most powerful over-the-air sports operation in North America just left for a conference on life support. – Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports

There are very few television executives as highly regarded and respected in our industry and the college athletic community as Mike. Mike's relationships and reputation were instrumental in securing our long-term deals with the SEC, the NCAA and Turner and the Big Ten, anchoring CBS Sports' college programming for the next decade. We wish Mike continued success as he takes on his new role. - Sean McManus, CBS Sports Chairman

If you look at the Big East, although it's changed, it's added markets. It's added televisions; it's added eyeballs. Look at Orlando, Dallas, Houston, San Diego. Then you add a competitive icon like Boise, you can see where the media rights and how that's negotiated are going to be critical. I see the media rights becoming increased exponentially. Mike Aresco certainly is more than valuable in that kind of negotiation. – Bill Bradshaw, Temple Athletic Director

It's a smart move. He's a longtime member of the savvy part of CBS Sports, very knowledgeable in the college sports business ... given the Big East situation, it makes all the sense in the world. -  Lee Berke, president & CEO of LHB Sports, Entertainment & Media, Inc.

Mike is a terrific choice. He's very knowledgeable on the college TV scene, a strong negotiator and understands landscape. I don't think they could have done any better than they did. I still think [the Big East] is an important product and there will be lot of completion for it. I think if anyone can do it, under the leadership of Mike, they have a pretty good chance. – Bob Gutkowski, chief executive officer at Marketing Group International

I am thrilled that we were able to attract a talent as great as Mike Aresco, widely viewed as one of the top television executives in the country. He will enable the Big East to push forward with tremendous vigor, and enhance our national reputation and position. - Susan Herbst, Connecticut President