The Big East is still without a commissioner, but the conference is moving closer to securing a new television contract.
The league announced on Monday that it has retained Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures to be the lead negotiator in the league's upcoming television negotiations.
The group headed by co-founder Chris Bevilacqua and his partner Adam Helfant, led negotiations for the Rose Bowl Game and the Pac-12 conference in 2011. The broadcast deal reached between the conference and ESPN and Fox for a reported $3 billion has been hailed as a landmark agreement in sports media circles. It provided the foundation for a 15-year, $3.6 billion deal between the ACC and ESPN in May.
“If one believes that past performance is the best predictor of future performance, we have tremendous confidence in our selection of Chris Bevilacqua to be our lead negotiator,” Big East interim commissioner Joseph Bailey said in a statement.
The Big East has an exclusive 60-day negotiating period with ESPN beginning on Sept. 1. The league cannot negotiate with other networks until the window closes Nov. 1. A six-year broadcast agreement between the Big East and ESPN in men's basketball expires after the 2012-2013 season. A separate agreement between the conference and the network in football expires after the 2013 regular season.
“We are thrilled to be working with the Big East conference during one of the most dynamic times in the history of the media industry,” Bevilacqua said. “The Big East has some of the most recognizable brand names and highly rated programming within intercollegiate athletics, both of which are at a premium these days.”
The conference could benefit from waiting until the 60-day window closes before securing a deal. If the NBC Sports Group enters the mix, the network could be prepared to offer the conference $10 million per team annually in football a source told the New York Daily News earlier this month. NBC could also offer an additional $4 million per team annually for the league's 16 basketball programs, the Daily News reported.
The Big East nearly reached an extension with ESPN in 2011 that would have run through the 2022-2023 season. The agreement reportedly would have paid the league between $110 million to $130 million annually.
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