Wednesday, June 19, 2013
New challenges invigorate Jim Delany
By Brian Bennett
Jim Delany offered a simple explanation as to why his 2011 contract extension was never announced or reported until Adam wrote about it last week.
"Nobody had ever asked," Delany told ESPN.com
Well, OK. Now we know that the Big Ten commissioner is under contract through June 30, 2018. Which raises the question: Will that be the end of his highly successful, hugely impactful term as league boss?
The 65-year-old Delany, not surprisingly, doesn't know the answer to that question right now. But one thing is clear: The guy who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last summer isn't slowing down anytime soon.
"I'm as excited to be working in the Big Ten today as I was 10 years ago and 15 years ago," he said.
Besides, Delany has a lot of things to see through, including the addition of Maryland and Rutgers next season and his goal of creating a bigger East Coast presence for the Big Ten.
"With expansion, lacrosse and hockey, there are new things happening all the time," he said. "And I would expect over the next five years that there will be more new things. Technology continues to change rapidly, and I think the challenge of building the conference in another region is real, and it will be fun."
One of the biggest tasks on the horizon will be the Big Ten's next TV contract. Delany said negotiations are scheduled to begin sometime in the 2015-16 academic year. Given the way rights fees have gone and the Big Ten's additional markets, the potential windfall for the conference in the next deal could be staggering.
"We work on it all the time," Delany said of the next TV deal. "We're keeping abreast of the changes in the market, and we've got a good team both in our office and out of our office that is helping us prepare."
Delany is proud of the technological advances the league has made with things like BTN2Go, the mobile stream of the Big Ten Network, and is excited about the possibilities of more advances. He doesn't sound like someone who's thinking much about retirement.
"I like projects, and our people like to do projects," he said. "I think we have sound judgment about when it's time to innovate and take chances. There are upsides but also downsides to taking chances, and we try to measure those in the right way. I think we'll continue to do that."