Mike Aresco - Commissioner
Alma Mater - Tufts University
Joined BIG EAST - 2012
Mike Aresco, one of the most influential leaders in collegiate sports television, was named Commissioner of The BIG EAST Conference on August 14, 2012.
Aresco came to the BIG EAST from CBS Sports where he was Executive Vice President, Programming. He was responsible for all college sports programming for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. Aresco oversaw the acquisition and management of CBS Sports college properties, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, regular-season college basketball and football, conference basketball championship games, football bowl games and other programming. His responsibilities included game selection and scheduling, day-to-day operations, contract negotiations, identification of future acquisitions, development of programming strategies and coordination of new media and marketing initiatives.
Aresco played an integral role in the landmark deal that created the CBS Sports-Turner Broadcasting partnership, which resulted in the acquisition of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship rights through 2024. He managed the complex 14-year agreement that provides expanded national broadcast and cable coverage of the NCAA basketball championship. Aresco also was instrumental in the CBS Television Network’s groundbreaking bundled rights agreement with the NCAA which granted CBS exclusive rights to the NCAA Tournament from 2003 through 2010. The 2010 NCAA Championship won a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Playoff Coverage category. Aresco also played a key role in negotiating the marketing agreement that coincided with the original NCAA deal and was instrumental in creating a partnership with IMG and the NCAA to assist in acquiring new NCAA corporate sponsors. He also was a significant contributor in the development of new media platforms for the NCAA Championship, including March Madness on Demand, CBS’ highly successful streaming platform.
In 2008, Aresco negotiated a historic 15-year agreement with the Southeastern Conference to televise the league’s football and basketball games. The agreement also provided multiple new media rights for CBS, CBS Sports Network and CBS Interactive. He forged numerous basketball agreements with major conferences, including the BIG EAST, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12. Aresco recently negotiated 10-year extensions of the Army-Navy and Notre Dame-Navy football rivalries.
Aresco was the creator and executive producer of The Tony Barnhart Show, the critically- acclaimed college football show, as well as Courtside with Seth Davis, a highly-regarded weekly show devoted to college basketball, both of which air on the CBS Sports Network.
In 2004, he was appointed by the late NCAA President Myles Brand to the Basketball Partnership, a select panel whose mission was to explore ways to improve and promote college basketball. He is a charter member of the steering committee of the Columbia University/New York City Chapter of the National Football Foundation and serves on the board of the National Sports Marketing Network.
Aresco joined CBS Sports from ESPN where he was responsible for overseeing the acquisition, scheduling and development of long-term strategies for all ESPN college sports properties. Earlier in his tenure at ESPN, he was responsible for programming a wide variety of sports properties, including College Football Association, Big 10, and Pac-10 college football, NCAA events, including early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament, the College World Series and various professional sports events, including thoroughbred racing, Top Rank Boxing, CFL football, Australian Rules Football, rodeo and yachting. He was the architect of ESPN’s signature Thursday night college football series and helped develop ESPN’s Bowl Week. He joined ESPN in 1984 as Counsel and was named Assistant General Counsel in 1988 before moving to the 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 at Tufts (M.A., international relations), where he held a John Moors Cabot Scholarship, and the University of Connecticut Law School (J.D.). He practiced law privately in Hartford, Conn., for several years.
Aresco, 62, and his wife, Sharon, have two adult sons, Matthew, an Emmy-nominated television producer who owns a production company in Connecticut, and Brett, an aspiring actor who lives in New York City.