Mike Aresco addresses UConn's departure, the impact on his American Athletic Conference moving forward

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“There’s no wavering in our commitment to play at the highest national level. There’s no thought about not moving forward with our Power 6 campaign,” Aresco told the Tulsa World. “We don’t think the UConn departure means anything with regard to that. Period. It just doesn’t.”

Since I’m writing this in Tulsa, and TU saw that $1 billion deal between the AAC and ESPN last March as a godsend, and a clause in that deal reportedly allows ESPN to renegotiate should AAC membership change... Let’s start with that media contract.

“We’re going to sit down with ESPN fairly soon,” Aresco said. “Obviously we hope that the impact is minimal, but I really don’t want to get into it. I don’t want to do anything that would put them on the spot.”

Is “renegotiate” the right word?
“We don’t know yet,” Aresco said. “I think we should leave it at that.”

Guerin Emig: Mike Aresco addresses UConn's departure, the impact on his American Athletic Conference moving forward
 
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I’ve said many times, most everyone I meet just assumes UConn is in the ACC or Big East. I watch them scan their memory, become confused and then they realize, they just aren’t sure what conference we are in. One thing that I’ve really noticed this week while vacationing with a lot of extended family, even real college sports fans, guys that talk and debate sports topics a lot, can’t remember what the AAC is called. They still just don’t know what the conference is and who is in it. The American has no identity and the one school with an actual, time tested product and identity on a national scale, just left. Not good for them. I feel for Cincy. They deserve better.
 

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I’ve said many times, most everyone I meet just assumes UConn is in the ACC or Big East. I watch them scan their memory, become confused and then they realize, they just aren’t sure what conference we are in. One thing that I’ve really noticed this week while vacationing with a lot of extended family, even real college sports fans, guys that talk and debate sports topics a lot, can’t remember what the AAC is called. They still just don’t know what the conference is and who is in it. The American has no identity and the one school with an actual, time tested product and identity on a national scale, just left. Not good for them. I feel for Cincy. They deserve better.
You are certainly right, people struggle with that name “American Athletic Conf.” I have the same problem six years into talking to middling sports fans. They should have gone with the “Amalgamated” or the “Alliance” is perhaps the “Conglomerated.”
 

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The P6 marketing campaign is the worst part.

I cringe every time I see people running around with P6 flag. I have to change the station when that ‘power’ AAC tv spot is on.
Honestly, I liked the P6 campaign. I liked a lot of things about the AAC. Well, not really - except for UCF’s success which was kinda of fun. Come to think of it, I like Danny White.

Per my prior post; the “American” was the worst part of the campaign. It should have been the “Desperado” conference - because anyone would do anything to get out.
 

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Honestly, I liked the P6 campaign. I liked a lot of things about the AAC. Well, not really - except for UCF’s success which was kinda of fun. Come to think of it, I like Danny White.

Per my prior post; the “American” was the worst part of the campaign. It should have been the “Desperado” conference - because anyone would do anything to get out.
We used to be cool... now we don’t hang around.
 
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I guess our question about renegotiation of the contract has been answered. Aresco doesn't seem too confident. Whatever commitment ESPN made about televising women's hoops is out the door. Additionally an improving men's team would get lots of network time for their games. This is a bunch of airtime that ESPN has to fill with less prominent AAC teams or other leagues. No doubt Memphis will get lots or air time. The final renegotiated $$ will be interesting.
 
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I guess our question about renegotiation of the contract has been answered. Aresco doesn't seem too confident. Whatever commitment ESPN made about televising women's hoops is out the door. Additionally an improving men's team would get lots of network time for their games. This is a bunch of airtime that ESPN has to fill with less prominent AAC teams or other leagues. No doubt Memphis will get lots or air time. The final renegotiated $$ will be interesting.
Don't forget about ESPN+ subscriptions they'll be losing. As much as I hate how our fan base is so fragmented, it's still very large across all sports.
 

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Honestly, I liked the P6 campaign. I liked a lot of things about the AAC. Well, not really - except for UCF’s success which was kinda of fun. Come to think of it, I like Danny White.

Per my prior post; the “American” was the worst part of the campaign. It should have been the “Desperado” conference - because anyone would do anything to get out.
P6 campaign was fine. The conference delivered on the field, so it wasn't an outlandish angle to take.
 

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Funny story about the P6 campaign. At one game at the Rent two years ago some lunch pail guys behind me - not that old- maybe mid 30s- were talking to each other trying to figure out what P6 meant. They had no idea, couldn’t even get close. They concluded it was a video game maker that has sponsored the first down makers. True story. I was tempted to jump in, but I opted to let it go.
 
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I'm very intrigued to see what happens with the media deal
Given this is ESPN's last best chance to stick it to us they may throw the AAC a bone and lowball the departure depreciation estimates. But the league is damaged. It has lost a top tier product and there is no comparable replacement on the horizon. Another FL school is redundant for the league and I wonder if a school like UMass would even be interested as their NE presence. They might not be.
 

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The only drawback to ESPN renegotiating their deal is that the conference will try to extract a higher price for our exit.
I view as sort of win/win. If the deal gets renegotiated downward significantly it is a public statement of the extent that we supported the value of the conference. If the deal doesn't get negotiated downward dramatically, than there really should not be any reason for the conference not to let us leave early.
 
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I give Aresco another year or 2 unless he's good with swimming upstream to collect a paycheck. He never had a lot of cards to play, and when the decision was made to not accommodate a major asset in the last contract he's dealt himself a terrible hand. Nothing personal, just business.
 
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I give Aresco another year or 2 unless he's good with swimming upstream to collect a paycheck. He never had a lot of cards to play, and when the decision was made to not accommodate a major asset in the last contract he's dealt himself a terrible hand. Nothing personal, just business.
The more I have thought about this, I have come up with a different take. Let's say UConn was getting $1 million per year for women's basketball. That works out to ~$83k per AAC basketball school, which means the money really didn't matter to the other schools. Even if the AAC took $2 million per year less on the contract to exclude women's basketball, that amounts to $166k per school per year. I really don't think the other schools would want UConn to leave over ~$100k per year per school.

Plus, I think too many people have made too much of the ESPN+ part of the deal as more sports are going streaming and bundled cable packages are not the future. Big 12 entered into a similar contract with ESPN.

I think the real issue is that Aresco didn't think the ESPN+ component of the deal (streaming) was a big issue and he didn't think there was much of an exposure issue of watching games on ESPN+ vs SNY. In fact, for those out of market, ESPN+ makes more sense to purchase than SNY as there will be a lot more content. And please, some people need to stop with the "ESPN+ can only be watched on my computer" nonsense. By the time the AAC contract starts, it will be widely available by a couple of clicks on your TV.

Bottom line, the AAC media contract was not lucrative enough to keep UConn in the AAC. If the deal was $15 million per year, I think UConn would have stayed in the AAC.
 

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Bottom line, the AAC media contract was not lucrative enough to keep UConn in the AAC. If the deal was $15 million per year, I think UConn would have stayed in the AAC.
Bingo....Absolutely we would have stayed if the money is better. We stuck around to see the contract - it sucked - now its time to go. I'd say the dividing line was $11-13 million (guessing here) and we'd stay. We needed a big step up to buttress the declining fan interest (ie ticket sales) for this national conference.
 
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