CBS, Turner and NCAA reach 14-year agreement on Men's Basketball coverage

Agreement Includes Television, Internet, Wireless and Marketing Rights Through 2024

INDIANAPOLIS--- The NCAA today announced a new 14-year television, internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion. As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks beginning in 2011 – a first for the 73-year old championship.

Additionally, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting have been licensed and will collaborate on the NCAA’s corporate marketing program.  

Late Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.

The new agreement sustains the long-term financial stability of the Association.  As with the current contract, approximately 96 percent of the revenue generated from this new agreement will be used to benefit student-athletes through either programs, services or direct distribution to member conferences and schools. Further, the agreement ensures student-athletes across all three NCAA divisions will continue to be supported in a broad range of championship opportunities, access to funds for personal and educational needs, and through scholarships in Divisions I and II.

Beginning with the 2011 championship, opening- , first- and second-round games will be shown nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.  CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional semi-final games.  CBS will provide coverage of the regional finals, as well as the Final Four® including the National Championship Game through 2015. Beginning in 2016, coverage of the regional finals will be split by CBS and Turner with the Final Four and the National Championship game alternating every year between the CBS Television Network and Turner’s TBS.

CBS Sports has broadcast the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship since 1982. This year’s broadcast of the Championship game earned an average national household rating/share of 14.2/23, up 31% from a 10.8/18 last year, the highest rating in five years.

Under the new rights agreement, NCAA March Madness on Demand®, the Emmy Award-winning video player that provides live streaming video of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, will continue to be launched from NCAA.com and CBSSports.com.  Turner has also secured the rights for any Time Warner digital property. The player will be operated and developed by Turner and have enhanced digital rights allowing the NCAA to deliver content for multiple Turner and Time Warner platforms.

“This is an important day for intercollegiate athletics and the 400,000 student-athletes who compete in NCAA sports,” said NCAA Interim President Jim Isch. “This agreement will provide on average more than $740 million annually to our conferences and member schools to help student-athletes in 23 sports learn and compete.”

“We’re excited this agreement continues our long-standing relationship with CBS, a partner company that has captured the unique spirit of the collegiate model of athletics, and brings a new partner in Turner Broadcasting to the Championship and NCAA basketball,” added Isch.

“This agreement with our colleagues at Turner and the NCAA secures CBS’s standing as a year-round leader in sports television well into the next decade,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports. 

“In this agreement, we have created a new strategic partnership that not only makes this prestigious property an ongoing core asset in our stable of major television events, but a profitable one as well.  We look forward to working with our friends at Turner as together we combine our industry-leading media assets to maximize the value of this great NCAA Championship.”

"This is a landmark deal for Turner Broadcasting and we’re extremely pleased to begin a long-term relationship with the NCAA and our partners at CBS and to have a commitment that extends well into the next decade," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has a rich tradition and is one of the most talked about sporting events every year highlighted by the Final Four and the National Championship Game.”

"We are well-positioned to monetize our investment in NCAA programming across three nationally distributed networks.  With the combined linear and digital assets of these two large media companies we'll be able to maximize the exposure of the Tournament, as well as provide incomparable access for viewers. "

Moving forward under the new contract, a committee headed by Harvey Perlman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor, will study and recommend prospective revenue distribution formulas to the Division I Board of Directors. Under the current contract, 96 percent of all NCAA revenue is returned to membership either in direct payments or in programs and services. The committee will follow principles of the current formula that ensure access to funds by student-athletes for educational, personal and emergency needs; that favor a broad-based approach to sports sponsorship; that continue to encourage more grants-in-aid rather than less; and that promote enhanced academic support of student-athletes.

Additionally, given the NCAA emphasis on academic reform, the committee will examine the need to strike a balance between Division I men’s basketball championship performance and academic achievement through either the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate or Graduation Success Rate metrics or both.

ESPN, the long-standing home for NCAA Championships such as the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, College World Series, Frozen Four and others, will continue to broadcast a full complement of events over the coming years as well.

“The economic challenges of the day are being felt on campuses across the country. The amount of revenue from this agreement isn’t the focus of this moment, rather it is the long-term security it provides as well as what is done with the money. We put our money where our mission is…supporting student-athletes so they can be successful in the classroom and in life,” said Isch.

About the NCAA
The NCAA® is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletics opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA Championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit NCAA.org and NCAA.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions — AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola — and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners — Enterprise, The Hartford, Hershey’s, LG, Lowe’s, Planters, State Farm and UPS.

About CBS Sports
CBS Sports, a year-round leader in television sports, broadcasts a portfolio of events on the CBS Television Network, including the NFL’s American Football Conference; THE NFL TODAY; college basketball, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship; golf, including The Masters® and PGA Championship; college football, including the SEC ON CBS; the U.S. Open Tennis Championships; CBS SPORTS SPECTACULAR, including track & field, auto racing and gymnastics.  In addition, the division directs the CBS College Sports Network, a 24-hour national cable network; produces Inside the NFL for Showtime; and partners with CBS Sports.com in creating a recognized leader among sports Internet destinations.

About Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.,
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.  Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., presents some of the best and most popular sporting events worldwide and is a leader in televised and online sports programming.  With events airing on TBS and TNT, Turner Sports’ television line-up includes coverage of NASCAR, the NBA, MLB and professional golf. The division’s digital portfolio consists of NASCAR.COM, PGATOUR.COM and PGA.com.  In addition, Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA League Pass, NBADLeague.com and WNBA.com.