Sidelines with John Clay

CBS, Turner extend NCAA Basketball Tournament television contract through 2032

CBS broadcasters, left to right, play-by-play commentator Jim Nantz, along with game analyses Grant Hill and Bill Raftery work before NCAA college basketball game during the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 12, 2016.
CBS broadcasters, left to right, play-by-play commentator Jim Nantz, along with game analyses Grant Hill and Bill Raftery work before NCAA college basketball game during the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 12, 2016. The Associated Press

Hope you like the way CBS and Turner telecast the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament because it’s going to stay that way for a long while.

The two networks, along with the NCAA, announced an eight-year extension of its multimedia rights agreement between the parties to telecast the tournament through 2032. The extension insures that every game will be broadcast from start to finish on any of the networks.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA today announced an eight-year extension of its multimedia rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner, a division of Time Warner, for the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The new contract extends the agreement through 2032, and ensures that one of the premier American sports events will be telecast by two of the world’s preeminent media companies for almost two more decades.

Through the terms of the new deal, Turner and CBS Sports will provide live coverage of all NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games across any platform within their respective portfolios, including those to be created over the life of the agreement.

CBS Sports and Turner will continue to manage and collaborate on the NCAA’s corporate marketing program. Additionally, Turner will continue to manage March Madness Live and NCAA.com, along with major events surrounding NCAA championships, including the NCAA March Madness Fan Fest and Music Festival.

The extension covers an eight-year period for a total rights fee of $8.8 billion. As with the current and previous contract, more than 90 percent of the revenue generated from this extension will be used to benefit college athletes through 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 through a broad range of championship opportunities, access to funds for personal and educational needs, and through scholarships in Divisions I and II.

Under the original contract with Turner and CBS, every March Madness game was, for the first time, presented live in its entirety on national television and across digital platforms. The unprecedented partnership delivered seamless and unified programming, production, sales and marketing efforts, with both media organizations finding innovative approaches to investing in and growing the tournament. Since 2011, the new television format has been universally praised, with all games televised across four networks (TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV). The offerings on March Madness Live also continued to grow, and the Team Stream coverage introduced in 2014 allows basketball fans to watch the Final Four from three distinct vantage points.

The tournament has delivered significant audiences across all platforms throughout the six-year partnership between Turner and CBS. Television coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV has averaged more than 10.2 million total viewers in its respective game telecast windows over the last six years. NCAA March Madness Live has more than doubled the number of its live video streams and live hours of consumption since 2011.

“The extension of our current agreement will allow our more than 1,100 NCAA member colleges and universities to continue to support student-athletes on 19,000 teams across 24 sports,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “We have a diverse membership with varying resource levels, and this extension will assist our campuses as they provide pathways to opportunity in higher education and beyond for nearly a half a million young men and women each year.”

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