Given the unparalleled success of the Big Ten Network over its first three years of operation, it would stand to reason that other conferences would look to create their own cash cow.
There’s been talk of the Big 12 and Pac-10 joining forces and forming a combined network. Of course, Texas has talked of forming its own network, which would take some of the shine — and, presumably, revenue — off that two-league television deal.
Now, word comes that one of the most beleaguered conferences in the country is tossing around the notion of creating their own network as well.
Speaking at the league’s annual spring meetings, Big East commissioner John Marinatto revealed that, even as the Big East could find itself short a member or two or three depending on the whims of the Big Ten’s expansion plans, his conference has been exploring a path that could include traveling down the same road blazed by the league currently eyeballing some of its member institutions.
The league’s current TV deals with ESPN/ABC and CBS expire at the end of the 2012-2013 season. After that?
“It [a Big East TV network] is definitely on the table,” Marinatto said according to Brett McMurphy of AOL Fanhouse. “It’s absolutely something we’re looking at.”
With that in mind, enter Paul Tagliabue.
The former NFL commissioner was hired by the conference on April 21 as a “Special Advisor”, and the press release trumpeting his addition stated that part of his job description would be to assess “the Conference’s collective strengths and opportunities, as well as the evolving landscape of broadcast television, cable and other subscriber-supported networks – national, regional or conference-based — and other new media opportunities.”
While he’s not attending the Ponte Vedra Beach meetings, he did take part in conference calls Monday. Marinatto did not get into the specifics of what Tagliabue has brought to the table, but he did give a hint that the TV side is a big part of the former commish’s current equation.
“We’ve brainstormed [with Tagliabue], but there’s nothing I can share with you,” Marinatto said. “We want to come up with unique ways and creative ways of approaching all of the issues that we’re trying to approach. Valuing our assets, how we can capitalize on what we’ve created under the auspice of the Big East and the fact we represent 25 percent of the market places in the country.
“He [Tagliabue] has some ideas.”
For the conference’s sake, one of those ideas had better be a solid counterattack if/when Jim Delany starts plucking schools.