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TV revenue a top priority


American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco, left, talks with ECU quarterback Shane Carden look across the football field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium during a tour of the athletic facilities Tuesday afternoon. Aresco held a press conference at the Murphy Center to discuss the Pirates joining the AAC. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)


By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The television money pouring into the coffers of the college athletic programs aligned with the NCAA’s Power Five conferences continues to be more and more staggering each year, becoming annual fodder for eye-popping stories written by Forbes and others trying to break down just how rich those five leagues are getting.

Meanwhile, the league just on the periphery of the Power Five cash cow is trying to figure out a way to get somewhere remotely close to that. The American Athletic Conference has a true TV man at its helm, and commissioner Mike Aresco is bent on getting a bigger piece of the pie.

Although it does have a contract with ESPN and CBS, the AAC and other members of the so-called Group of Five leagues are bent on narrowing the gap that keeps widening every time Forbes writes another story on the subject.

“We’ve got to remedy that, and we may not get to that level (of the Power Five) and I understand that, but we have to get to a higher level than we have financially, and I think we will because we weren’t as valuable five years ago,” Aresco said of the American’s TV deal, which is set for renegotiation in 2019. “It’s night and day.”

But so is the disparity between the five powerhouse leagues, which Forbes said all gross more than $250 million in TV dollars annually, and the others.

Winning games, especially against those bigger conferences, helps when it comes to the next negotiation. Aresco says perception creates reality but that it must have its basis in that reality. The reality is, according to the commissioner, that the American is already winning those big games and he believes that is going to pay off in actual dollars.

“The competitive success will lead to a better TV deal without question, but we don’t have that right now,” he said. “We have a great TV deal in terms of the ability to brand our conference and promote our conference because it’s got great exposure. We get tremendous windows on ESPN and CBS, but we don’t have the money we need, and we know that.”

The hurdles are considerable and the commissioner acknowledges that, noting his league is still locked out of the College Football Playoff and that it does not have a marquee contract bowl game, leaving the AAC “lumped in” with the Group of Five in terms of revenue sharing.

Part of Aresco’s plan to change the perception and the income of his conference is the Power Six movement, based around the idea that the American is more of a power league than its counterparts on the outside looking in. But still the American must do things its own way, he said, including trying to find what he called a “legislative path” to inclusion in the autonomous Power Five framework.

“We don’t have a typical conference and we know that,” Aresco said. “We have to be more like a Jet Blue or a Southwest Airlines who have become major carriers but have done it differently. We play on Thursdays and Fridays to help get that exposure, and we don’t try to go up against the networks on Saturdays for the most part, though we will as we gain strength. I told someone that if George Washington had attacked the British head on, the revolution would have lasted a week or two. You do what you can and you gain strength each year, almost guerrilla warfare in many respects.

“But look what we’ve done. I don’t think many of those P5 schools that scheduled us realized how good we were, and we defeated a lot of them, 19 wins in two years.”

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on  Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


September 24, 2018 - 39 minutes ago

East Carolina cornerback Colby Gore is probable to return to action this weekend against Old Dominion, and starting quarterback Reid Herring also is expected to play despite nursing a sore ankle from Saturday’s 20-13 loss at South Florida.

Pirate coach Scottie Montgomery confirmed those…


September 24, 2018


Sweat flung from Alex Turner’s face outside the visiting locker room at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night as he participated in interviews following East Carolina football’s 20-13 loss to 4-0 South Florida.

It was a sweaty scene like what is becoming a staple in post-…


September 23, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. — Too many times since East Carolina joined the American Athletic Conference in 2014 have the football Pirates faced an insurmountable deficit in the fourth quarter when playing league games away from Greenville.

Saturday night’s 20-13 loss for ECU at South Florida in…

E Carolina South Florida Football-7

September 23, 2018

N.C. State and Duke keep winning, which gives them the edge over an impressive Appalachian State resume. Also notable from this college football weekend was a 16-13 upset loss by North Carolina A&T to Morgan State.

Here are The Daily Reflector’s updated “Battle for N.C.”…

NC State Marshall Football-4

September 23, 2018

These questions appeared in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section Saturday to preview East Carolina’s matchup at South Florida, which ended as a 20-13 victory for the favored Bulls.

Here are the answers and more insight from the game:

1. Will the East Carolina layoff play a role?…

E Carolina South Florida Football-9

September 22, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. — In many ways it was a banner night for the East Carolina football defense Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.

A grind-it-out game ended as a 20-13 win for host South Florida, however, thanks to a few big plays.

Jordan Cronkrite delivered the crushing blow, dashing through…

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September 22, 2018

This ran in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section Saturday morning to help preview East Carolina’s American Athletic Conference football opener at South Florida, which is 3-0 and sits just outside the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. 

The game starts at 8 p.m. on ESPNews.…


September 22, 2018

It has been two weeks since East Carolina has played a football game, and the Pirates spent most of those days in Orlando, Fla., to avoid the direct impact of Hurricane Florence.

They left Orlando for Tampa on Friday and, similar to two weeks ago against North Carolina from the Atlantic Coast…


September 22, 2018

Q: You had 90 receiving yards and a touchdown against North Carolina on Sept. 8, earning the game ball after the Pirates’ 41-19 win. What did you do with the ball?

A: I’m giving it to my son (5-year-old Quey), and it’s unbelievable just to be able to say that I can give that to my…


September 21, 2018

Raymond James Stadium is set to host two primetime football games in the coming days, beginning Saturday when East Carolina plays at 3-0 South Florida at 8 p.m.

USF stages its home games at the stadium in Tampa more known as the venue for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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