Big East closing in on hoops TV deal

The new battle ground for Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is in his wheel house.  The former CBS sports television executive is closing in on a basketball deal with ESPN and CBS for next season, while working on a long-term deal in football with multiple networks.

According to sources familiar with the discussions currently being held, Aresco and the Big East  are close to finalizing a one-year deal in basketball using an 18-team model, which includes the Catholic 7 group of Big East schools who are expected to leave the conference following the 2013-2014 season and schools who are leaving for other conferences such as Notre Dame and Louisville (ACC) and  Rutgers (Big Ten).

There is some speculation that Notre Dame will push for an exit from the league by next season, but the more likely scenario is the Irish remain in the Big East for one more season.

The package will include ESPN’s  Big East Big Monday time slots, the  Big East tournament and select games on CBS during the regular season.

In football,  the Big East will have 10 teams  for next season and 11 for 2014 and 12 for 2015.  Aresco remains confident that the money for both sports will be “reasonable”.

Once the television deals are done–perhaps in the next few weeks–Aresco will then talk to the Catholic 7 about the details of their withdrawal. Contractually, the earliest any of the schools can leave without significant payments would be the 2015-16 season, but almost everyone concedes that a a target date of July 1, 2014 seems more reasonable for the official split of the basketball schools.

With an ever-changing landscape, here is what the Big East is expected to look at in 2013.


1. Louisville. 2. Rutgers. 3.  Central Florida 4. South Florida. 5. Cincinnati. 6  UConn. 7. Temple. 8. Memphis. 9. Houston. 10. SMU.

East Carolina and Tulane will replace Louisville and Rutgers in 2014 and the Big East is focusing on getting Tulsa as its 11 team. Navy is expected to join the Big East in 2015.


1.  Louisville   2. Rutgers. 3. Central Florida 4. South Florida. 5. Cincinnati. 6. UConn. 7. Temple. 8. Memphis. 9. Houston. 10. SMU. 11. St. John’s 12. Providence. 13. Marquette 14.   Seton Hall. 15. Villanova. 16. Georgetown. 17. DePaul 18. Notre Dame.

When the Catholic 7, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Louisville depart, Tulane and East Carolina and another team (presumably Tulsa) will join the conference as full members.

The Catholic 7 are expected to focus on adding Xavier and Butler as their 8th and 9th teams, with Dayton, Saint Louis, Creighton and VCU as possible targets for expansion to a maximum total of 12 teams.

© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.

  22 comments for “Big East closing in on hoops TV deal

  1. Chris Columbo
    January 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    This is a smart move by Mr. Aresco, he will get a nice one year basketball contract, which will stabilizes things. The 2013-14 basketball product will be very respectable. Momentum needs to build in these matters. Remember the 2013 football product will still be solid with Rutgers Louisville and Cincinnati all still in the conference. C7 will go their way in 2014 and do well.The residual Big East will be a middle tier football and upper tier basketball conference. Once things are settled they will start marketing it and developing rivalries etc. It is a long term process

    • fin
      January 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Agreed. Aresco has lost a lot of areas since he took over, but as soon as a deal…any deal…gets done the BE will look 1000X more stable.

      The public seems to oddly assume one school will leave and suddenly the conference will implode. A TV deal will put that perception to rest anyway.

  2. Fin
    January 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    It is estimated that 23.9 % of the US is Roman Catholic. One can understand why a network might give 12 good Catholic BB schools $3M each annually.

    $36M annually is not a lot for that much content.

  3. Guy
    January 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

    No way that forecasted Big East football line up for 2014 materializes.

    More moves are coming and more CUSA schools are going to be rebranded as Big East programs.

    Heck, even some of the CUSA schools coming in for the 2013 season won’t even be in the 2014 Big East line up.

    The Big East of 2014 will be a collection of CUSA and Sun Belt schools from 2012.

    Good luck selling that inventory Aresco.

  4. Big Shot Bob
    January 25, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    A10 appears to be a better league-right now. Aresco better sign these so called deals yesterday. I think this league C7 will be a failure. Depaul vs Providence? Seton Hall vs Villanova? Snoooooooooooooooooooooozefest.

  5. Greg2600
    January 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Couldn’t the BE negotiate a partial exit to Navy’s contract with CBS as part of their new CBS deal, allowing the Middies to join by 2014 not 2015?

    • Fin
      January 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      I suspect the issue is Navy’s scheduling commitments.

  6. Curious
    January 25, 2013 at 10:01 am


  7. The Kidd
    January 25, 2013 at 9:21 am

    With the ability to recruit talent and retain coaches in a BCS conference – these teams are going to get better and the conference will be just fine.

    • RudyMass
      January 26, 2013 at 7:17 am

      Yup, just like C-USA, the MWC and WAC were “just fine.” Second tier is second tier.

  8. TKE Daddy
    January 25, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Joe, let’s give it a couple of years before judgement is passed.

  9. Michael
    January 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Jersey Guy, what are you hearing about Gonzaga being included in the Catholic 7’s new conference? Also, what are you hearing about the possibility of the Catholic 7 retaining the Big East brand name?

    • Mark
      January 25, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Gonzaga a long shot. big east name is definite possibility

  10. jdjs
    January 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm


    What newtworks is Aresco talking with for the larger football and basketball deals? I would love to know what Cincinnati and UConn people are thinking right now. Has anybody brought up a grant of rights to keep those schools from leaving which would also increase the value of the media rights deal.

    • Fin
      January 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Why would they agree to that? The other schools for the most part have no where better to go. There is no leverage for that.

  11. Ben Dover
    January 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    So ESPN will pay for the 1 decent remaining year of this conf (w C7, Ville, & ND) but not for CUSA/SunBelt?

    Makes sense.

  12. Joe Crum
    January 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Does anyone even know or care who is in this joke of a conference anymore?

    • logic
      January 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Obviously you don’t…

  13. Hoffmeister
    January 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    So Jersey Guy feels the C7 will be BE members until spring 2014? That seems less likely to me as FOX likely wants them before that.

    • Mark
      January 25, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Fox wants it. but leaving a year early will cost Catholic 7 lots more money than the fox tv deal.

  14. believer
    January 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    hopefully both new entities will call

    gavitt’s big east and the new big east

    that both the basketball tournaments retain madison garden

    one can retain the championship on saturday night and the other sunday afternoon

  15. Curious
    January 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I hope its a decent contract for all the schools – this conference needs a win

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