Big East commissions study to look into post-realignment name change for conference

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When a conference will soon include teams that span from San Diego, Calif., to Philadelphia, Penn., identifying oneself as “The Big East” makes for a difficult marketing question.

Should the name remain, considering the brand value that it has accrued since its inception, or should the conference brass reshape the name to more accurately reflect the state of its members?

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Big East is taking that question on and has commissioned a study to look into tweaking the conference’s name.

“The unintended consequences of adding new schools is that all of a sudden the Big East is a national conference,” former interim commissioner Joe Bailey said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit Thursday.

“It extends to four time zones in major markets. In one sense, it almost represents the United States in that diversity.”

The Big East has, at times, been jokingly branded “The new Conference USA,” being that many of its current and incoming members, including Louisville, Memphis, UCF, Southern Methodist, Cincinnati, Marquette, Houston, South Florida, and DePaul, were once part of the C-USA.

It seems ironic, then, that “Conference USA” would be a fitting name to reflect the Big East’s new coast-to-coast presence.

“A brand is extremely important because it tells the marketplace that this is what the Big East stands for,” Bailey went on to say. “There is so much equity in the name, Big East, what do you do with that?”

“Stay tuned,” he added. “There will be a twist to that, but it can’t look less than authentic.”

How does one “tweak” two words without a complete overhaul? We’ll see.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_