The Big East Conference is still looking to fill its empty commissioner role, but it has hired someone to lead the upcoming TV contract negotiations that are set for September.
NJ.com reported on Monday morning that the league has hired Chris Bevilacqua, who currently heads Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures out of New York City. Interim commissioner Joe Bailey trusts that Bevilacqua is the right man for the job, considering that he was essential to the landing Pac-12 its 12-year, $3 billion deal in May of last year - a deal which will include the conference launching its own network this week.
“If one believes that past performance is the best predictor of future performance," said interim commissioner Joe Bailey,"we have tremendous confidence in our selection of Chris Bevilacqua to be our lead negotiator.”
Bevilacqua states that "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."
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The Big East, who has been led by Bailey and a temporary staff since former commissioner John Marinatto was pushed out in May, is certainly in the midst of near-desperate times. After losing Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and TCU and West Virginia to the Big-12, the conference is certainly not as strong as it once was - whether it is in basketball or football.
But the league has been under an equally ominous cloud in recent months, facing an impending television contract negotiation process that much of its future will depend on. The current deal between the Big East and ESPN runs out after the 2012-13 season.
Bevilacqua's connections to the Big East are with Rutgers Athletics Director, Tim Pernetti, from their days working together on the launch of College Sports Television (CSTV). The network has since become the CBS Sports Network, which has quickly become a power in the industry just 13 years after Bevilacqua started it in 1999.
Bailey, who has worked with the Miami Dolphins, is a businessman at heart. His knowledge of the business side of athletics led him to Bevilacqua, a man who has proven himself at the highest of levels. Even as the search for a new commissioner continues, the Big East is in better hands moving forward in attempts to regain stability.