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



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Tulane basketball wasn’t even on the RADIO.
Which sums up the wide ranging perspectives on the deal:

  • Tulsa, Tulane, ECU, and SMU probably never thought in a 1,000 years they would see this kind of money
  • Navy makes out incredibly well here since they keep their side deal with CBS
  • Cincy, USF, UCF, Houston, Temple and Memphis probably aren't overly enthusiastic about the deal, but are still clinging to P5 aspirations and have no viable alternative so they have no choice but to take whatever the AAC/ESPN gives even if it is garbage. This deal is not sustainable to continue this type of spending to keep up with the P5, so if nothing happens in 2024/2025 or they lose in conference realignment those years, that is more or less it as being competitive in football and will have to cut back in my estimation. This deal is underpaying up to 2024 and possibly will be overpaying based on what happens thereafter in terms of members leaving or not being able to pour as much money into the sport.
  • Wichita State doesn't even get much money from this as only basketball but came primarily for exposure and recruiting purposes and less the money since the Koch brothers prop up their community college
  • Which leaves UConn as the only school with three revenue sports, the biggest athletic department, the biggest brands, and the biggest market opportunities (NYC #1 DMA, SNY, etc.). Given no exceptions like Navy, storing one of the three core brands of the school behind a paywall that should only be done to Tulsa/Tulane/ECU sports that no one cares about. And the only school with a viable alternative option.
As others have noted, no one in the league is on the same page. Some people are just taking the hits because they don't have a choice, some are just happy to be here. It's a land of misfit toys and UConn was the only one able to control their destiny so they did and have an ability to come out of this better than those staying while preserving both basketball programs and seeing if football can be revived on its own terms.
 
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The conference is worth a lot more. Aresco left money on the table
I’m curious... have you seen anyone (outside fans on a message board) say this? I don’t remember seeing any mainstream sport’s media, sport’s business writers or reputable bloggers saying that the AAC got shafted and signed a bad deal because there were a boodle of more $$ available elsewhere.
Nobody will ever know for sure what the league was really worth because the idiot never negotiated with anybody other than ESPN. That's like sitting in a room and negotiating with yourself.
So the straightforward answer to the question is no?

... and you really don’t know whether Aresco (or anyone else on his behalf) had preliminary conversations w/ any other distribution option(s) before landing back w/ ESPN.

To be clear... I’m not saying the AAC deal was good for UConn, just that it was probably as good as it was going to get for all others.
 

UConnNick

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Because the last time the conference spurned ESPN, they gutted us like a fish?
I don't think that's relevant to the AAC's current situation. When ESPN, in concert with the ACC, destroyed the old Big East, it was a BCS conference worthy of getting power conference money.

The AAC represents no threat to the P5 so whether or not ESPN retains it or not doesn't matter to them. They made it perfectly clear with their paltry offer that the AAC means little to them.

Your excellent point about the NBE getting more for a basketball only league is all the proof anyone should need that Aresco sold the league short again, making the bottom feeders like Tulsa and Tulane deliriously happy that they're going to help ESPN sell their new ESPN+ site to someone other than soccer and boxing fans.
 

CL82

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In terms of gross dollars, the deal is a great deal for conference USA teams. In terms of the net dollars and the length of the agreement the value of the deal is really low, probably less than the Big East, but certainly not more on a net basis. When you realize that a lot of the content is going to be on ESPN plus and that the individual institutions are responsible for the production costs, it’s hard to call this a good deal.

Now if anyone wants to argue that a bad deal was the best value the conference could get, I shrug. But it is really tough to complement Aresco on getting less money in an FBS conference then a basketball only conference.
 
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Nobody will ever know for sure what the league was really worth because the idiot never negotiated with anybody other than ESPN. That's like sitting in a room and negotiating with yourself.
Not to defend Aresco, but
1. Specifically which other competitors to Disney/ESPN existed?
2. How confident are you other companies' bids met or exceeded Mickey Mouse's bid?
3. With 100% confidence, how do you absolutely know your responses to 1 and 2 are correct?
4. Or, that other parts of other hypothetical competitors' purported bids did not have negative factors outweighing Mickey and Minnie's overall service offering?
 

CL82

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I don't think that's relevant to the AAC's current situation. When ESPN, in concert with the ACC, destroyed the old Big East, it was a BCS conference worthy of getting power conference money.
They destroyed it because they didn't want Fox getting content. Aresco, apparently learned from that and took what ESPN offered.
 

UConnNick

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So the straightforward answer to the question is no?

... and you really don’t know whether Aresco (or anyone else on his behalf) had preliminary conversations w/ any other distribution option(s) before landing back w/ ESPN.

To be clear... I’m not saying the AAC deal was good for UConn, just that it was probably as good as it was going to get for all others.
Aresco had an exclusive negotiating period with ESPN. If he surreptitiously talked with the other networks during that period ESPN could have claimed breach of contract and left Aresco to twist in the wind.

I'm sure they weren't the least bit worried about that because they already knew Aresco can't negotiate with anybody perhaps beyond the age of a five year old child.

I personally don't understand how anybody is defending a man who voluntarily admitted Tulane and Tulsa into the AAC, and as CL82 astutely points out, just negotiated a deal for a football/basketball league, universally regarded as the best G5 conference in the country, for less money than a BB only conference gets from another network.

If you don't think the AAC is worth anymore than 5-6 million per school per year, I don't know what to tell you, except that I'd rather see almost any other athletics administrator than Aresco negotiating these deals. The execs at ESPN must spend all their time before and after meetings with Aresco laughing hysterically. The guy is a complete joke.
 

UConnNick

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They destroyed it because they didn't want Fox getting content. Aresco, apparently learned from that and took what ESPN offered.
If ESPN didn't want any other network to get the old Big East, they could have just offered enough to price everybody else out. It seems pretty extreme to intentionally dismantle an entire conference just so nobody else gets it.

I think the ACC pulled all the strings on that deal. There was a lot of angst at that time over a serious breakup of that conference. They were wet pants scared and needed fallback schools. The Big East had plenty of those. Plus killing the Big East gave the ACC a virtual east coast monopoly.

Since that time, the AAC has more than established its value nationally. Several schools improved their football programs immeasurably during that time, and recently some basketball powers have emerged. If the basketball only NBE was worth 4-5 million per school, the AAC has to be worth a minimum of twice that number, or more. 10 million is where I would have started the negotiation. If anybody said no I would have kept shopping until everybody had said no before I would have been satisfied that half that number was all I could get.
 

CL82

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If ESPN didn't want any other network to get the old Big East, they could have just offered enough to price everybody else out. It seems pretty extreme to intentionally dismantle an entire conference just so nobody else gets it.

I think the ACC pulled all the strings on that deal. There was a lot of angst at that time over a serious breakup of that conference. They were wet pants scared and needed fallback schools. The Big East had plenty of those. Plus killing the Big East gave the ACC a virtual east coast monopoly.

Since that time, the AAC has more than established its value nationally. Several schools improved their football programs immeasurably during that time, and recently some basketball powers have emerged. If the basketball only NBE was worth 4-5 million per school, the AAC has to be worth a minimum of twice that number, or more. 10 million is where I would have started the negotiation. If anybody said no I would have kept shopping until everybody had said no before I would have been satisfied that half that number was all I could get.
Once ESPN decided to make the ACC it's house band, the Big East was doomed. Remember that ESPN did offer the Big East a contract, lower but in range of the ACC deal. It wasn't until the BE threatened to take their rights elsewhere that ESPN funded the conference's evisceration.

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Aresco had an exclusive negotiating period with ESPN. If he surreptitiously talked with the other networks during that period ESPN could have claimed breach of contract and left Aresco to twist in the wind.

I'm sure they weren't the least bit worried about that because they already knew Aresco can't negotiate with anybody perhaps beyond the age of a five year old child.

I personally don't understand how anybody is defending a man who voluntarily admitted Tulane and Tulsa into the AAC, and as CL82 astutely points out, just negotiated a deal for a football/basketball league, universally regarded as the best G5 conference in the country, for less money than a BB only conference gets from another network.

If you don't think the AAC is worth anymore than 5-6 million per school per year, I don't know what to tell you, except that I'd rather see almost any other athletics administrator than Aresco negotiating these deals. The execs at ESPN must spend all their time before and after meetings with Aresco laughing hysterically. The guy is a complete joke.
I saw a Memphis poster claim, with absolute certainty, that Aresco talked with other suitors (NBC/FOX/etc) and the ESPN offer was the best offer out there.

Take that with a grain of salt. Because this is the same Memphis poster who was adamant that Memphis was told by the Big 12 that they were in, back when the Big 12 was "thinking" of expanding.
 
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If ESPN didn't want any other network to get the old Big East, they could have just offered enough to price everybody else out. It seems pretty extreme to intentionally dismantle an entire conference just so nobody else gets it.

I think the ACC pulled all the strings on that deal. There was a lot of angst at that time over a serious breakup of that conference. They were wet pants scared and needed fallback schools. The Big East had plenty of those. Plus killing the Big East gave the ACC a virtual east coast monopoly.

Since that time, the AAC has more than established its value nationally. Several schools improved their football programs immeasurably during that time, and recently some basketball powers have emerged. If the basketball only NBE was worth 4-5 million per school, the AAC has to be worth a minimum of twice that number, or more. 10 million is where I would have started the negotiation. If anybody said no I would have kept shopping until everybody had said no before I would have been satisfied that half that number was all I could get.
Sure they did.....on ESPN's orders. I just wish ESPN stepped in and demanded UCONN be invited with Syracuse.
 
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From the New York Times story:

The most stunning comment in the article was DeFilippo’s public admission that ESPN guided the A.C.C.’s decision to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh last month. “We always keep our television partners close to us,” DeFilippo told The Globe. “You don’t get extra money for basketball. It’s 85 percent football money. TV — ESPN — is the one who told us what to do. This was football; it had nothing to do with basketball.”

DeFilippo’s comments give credence to the popular theory that ESPN encouraged Pittsburgh and Syracuse’s exit from the Big East in the wake of the Big East’s turning down ESPN’s billion dollar television deal in May during an exclusive negotiating window. ESPN has a billion dollar deal with the A.C.C., making that move either savvy business or collusion, depending on one’s perspective.

 
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Good afternoon, I’d to introduce a motion to rename this thread “Mike Aresco (not mad) Addresses UConn departure...”

Furthermore, I’d like to introduce a follow-on, but separate, motion to always refer to commissioner Aresco as “Mike Aresco (not mad)” when speaking of him on the Boneyard.

Ladies and gentleman of the Yard and judge @huskymedic , I appreciate your time and consideration

Best regards,
 
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CL82

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Good afternoon, I’d to introduce a motion to rename this thread “Mike Aresco (not mad) Address UConn departure...”

Furthermore, I’d like to introduce a follow-on, but separate, motion to always refer to commissioner Aresco as “Mike Aresco (not mad)” when speaking of him on the Boneyard.

Ladies and gentleman of the Yard and judge @huskymedic , I appreciate your time and consideration

Best regards,
Uh, no disrespect to Medic but there is only one Judge on the Boneyard and that would be @Deepster.
 
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I saw a Memphis poster claim, with absolute certainty, that Aresco talked with other suitors (NBC/FOX/etc) and the ESPN offer was the best offer out there.

Take that with a grain of salt. Because this is the same Memphis poster who was adamant that Memphis was told by the Big 12 that they were in, back when the Big 12 was "thinking" of expanding.
I think this is from that same poster when asked why didn't Aresco at least look at what other networks might offer.

He and the AAC Committee did that, lol. Exclusive bargaining period doesn't mean you can't talk to anybody else, you just can't sign with anybody else. They shopped around to everybody.

The agreement was if they took it to the open market, they couldn't sign for less, but I know for a fact (second hand) that they talked to a lot of potential bidders. They just aren't going to publicize it.

They apparently knew they weren't going to do better with a combo of money and exposure.
 
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I think this is from that same poster when asked why didn't Aresco at least look at what other networks might offer.

He and the AAC Committee did that, lol. Exclusive bargaining period doesn't mean you can't talk to anybody else, you just can't sign with anybody else. They shopped around to everybody.

The agreement was if they took it to the open market, they couldn't sign for less, but I know for a fact (second hand) that they talked to a lot of potential bidders. They just aren't going to publicize it.

They apparently knew they weren't going to do better with a combo of money and exposure.
Yeah that's him. For the uninitiated, the posters name is TripleA and he's still peddling the lie that the Big 12 told Memphis they were in during that sham of an expansion "search" back a couple of years ago.
 
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Well Aresco, say our peers are the P5. If so, shouldn't that be our standard?
This statement is what is wrong with America in the social media age in a nutshell. Public figure tries to use media to build up his conference's rep -- you criticize him for exaggerating when in fact results don't fall in line with his bluster. And we both know that if he simply stated we will never be as good as the P5, you would be bashing him for not doing his job.

We have become a country where no one in the public eye can win, because wise guys with a keyboard will slam them whatever path they choose.
 
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CL82

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This statement is what is wrong with America in the social media stage in a nutshell. Public figure tries to use media to build up his conference's rep -- you criticize him for exaggerating when in fact results don't fall in line with his bluster. And we both know that if he simply stated we will never be as good as the P5, you would be bashing him for not doing his job.

We have become a country where no one in the public eye can win, because wise guys with a keyboard will slam them whatever path they choose.
Lol, one line out of my post is what's wrong with America? Uh, I think you are giving me far too much import.

Perhaps you should read the rest of my post. My criticism of Aresco isn't that he didn't get the American P5 money. We can agree that that was never going happen. My criticism is that the deal earns less on a net basis for an FBS conference in 2032 for basketball and football rights than the Big East in getting now, at the end of it's existing deal for basketball only. Do you agree that that is a fair comparison?

Incidentally, he got that craptastic deal on the back of Connecticut T3 rights, which makes me even more critical of it.

Hardly a basis for giving him a spot on "the Mount Rushmore of Conference Presidents" as the poster I was responding to claimed.
 
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This statement is what is wrong with America in the social media stage in a nutshell. Public figure tries to use media to build up his conference's rep -- you criticize him for exaggerating when in fact results don't fall in line with his bluster. And we both know that if he simply stated we will never be as good as the P5, you would be bashing him for not doing his job.

We have become a country where no one in the public eye can win, because wise guys with a keyboard will slam them whatever path they choose.
Mike Aresco (not mad) is an idiot Commish. Full stop.

There is no defending him or the actions he’s taken with regards to UConn or the AAC.
 

whaler11

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This statement is what is wrong with America in the social media stage in a nutshell. Public figure tries to use media to build up his conference's rep -- you criticize him for exaggerating when in fact results don't fall in line with his bluster. And we both know that if he simply stated we will never be as good as the P5, you would be bashing him for not doing his job.

We have become a country where no one in the public eye can win, because wise guys with a keyboard will slam them whatever path they choose.
That’s just not true.

Benedict got killed for a million things. When they made the move he was celebrated. Do good things get good feedback - do bad things get bad feedback.

Don’t worry - Aresco has been well compensate for the absolute zero value he added. If you want to chalk up how UConn was treated to he was just doing his job - that’s your call but don’t act offended when others don’t perceive it that way.
 

nelsonmuntz

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This statement is what is wrong with America in the social media stage in a nutshell. Public figure tries to use media to build up his conference's rep -- you criticize him for exaggerating when in fact results don't fall in line with his bluster. And we both know that if he simply stated we will never be as good as the P5, you would be bashing him for not doing his job.

We have become a country where no one in the public eye can win, because wise guys with a keyboard will slam them whatever path they choose.
If Aresco had signed a TV deal that netted each team $10 million a year or better, he would have been a hero no matter what stupid stuff he says in interviews or posts on Twitter. He didn't. He says we are P6, so why couldn't he get us something in the ballpark of P6 money?

The Conference Commissioner has ONE JOB, maximize the conference media contract. If this is what maximizing the media contract looks like, then the AAC doesn't need a million dollar a year commissioner.
 
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If Aresco had signed a TV deal that netted each team $10 million a year or better, he would have been a hero no matter what stupid stuff he says in interviews or posts on Twitter. He didn't. He says we are P6, so why couldn't he get us something in the ballpark of P6 money?

The Conference Commissioner has ONE JOB, maximize the conference media contract. If this is what maximizing the media contract looks like, then the AAC doesn't need a million dollar a year commissioner.
I've said 10 million was the minimum to make this work for US. However you guys are grossly underestimating the payday he got for schools like Tulsa, Tulane, ECU, and others. He got them up to Boise State levels without Boise State results.
 
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This statement is what is wrong with America in the social media stage in a nutshell. Public figure tries to use media to build up his conference's rep -- you criticize him for exaggerating when in fact results don't fall in line with his bluster. And we both know that if he simply stated we will never be as good as the P5, you would be bashing him for not doing his job.

We have become a country where no one in the public eye can win, because wise guys with a keyboard will slam them whatever path they choose.
I think social media accelerates and heightens basic human nature. It's much more difficult to manage human nature in this online era, but basic human nature hasn't changed. Most people will either praise or criticize what they don't fully understand depending on their perspective.
 
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