Turner and CBS announced that they have extended their multiplatform licensing deal with the NCAA for its Division I Men's Basketball Championship by another eight years, through 2032. The landmark agreement, worth a total of $8.8 billion, is both a vote of confidence in the joint broadcast and live-streamed OTT strategy used for March Madness since 2011, and a solid lock-in of rights for one of sports' most profitable tournaments.
The tournament's opening, first and second round games will continue to be shown across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. Turner and CBS will split coverage of the regional semifinals and regional finals each year during the contract term, and the Final Four's live broadcast coverage will alternate between CBS and Turner -- which means CBS will broadcast the games in 2017.
Online, Turner will keep managing NCAA.com and March Madness Live -- a site that has doubled its live streams and hours of live consumption of the tournament's games since 2011. Turner and CBS will also have rights to marketing, sponsorship and events related to the tournament.
That online platform continues to present a juicy opportunity for both Turner and CBS -- making it important for them to be able to adapt their marketing and game coverage as platforms develop and user demand evolves.
"To be able to have these rights this long as the whole world evolves and have the opportunity to go into digital, social, direct to consumer, to have these capabilities and have it be profitable for our company, it's something we'd like to have a long term deal with," Turner President David Levy said on a media call about the deal. "We originally signed a 14-year deal and this is an extension of another eight years to do that. This is probably one of the premium most prominent sport properties out there … to be able to have that plus other rights (event rights, sponsorship, marketing) this is pretty a premium package for our company."
CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus agreed, saying on the call that the deal "has exceeded all our expectations. When the opportunity presented itself to talk to the NCAA and Turner for another eight years, we were very enthusiastic in doing that."
NCAA President Mark Emmert said on the call that the deal will have big benefits for the organization's member universities and colleges, because the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is the biggest revenue generator out of all 90 national championships that the NCAA conducts. "So for them to be able to have confidence that they've got a revenue stream that extends out well into the future gives them the ability to plan and organize their behavior and activities around that revenue stream. So it's a very important part of what we were trying to accomplish," he said.
"There are very few premium sports properties available that produce the kind of value the NCAA tournament delivers to our distributors, our advertisers and our consumers," Levy said. "So as the media landscape continues to evolve, these expanded rights provide us with an incredible opportunity to build and pursue new business extensions while delivering to our fans across all multimedia platforms."
- see the release
First all-cable March Madness title game sees 37% viewer drop to 17.8M
ESPN, Tencent ink partnership deal to live-stream sports content in China
Turner's NBA All-Star Game live stream views jump 50%
NCAA tourney sets video streaming record; Turner calls it a 'watershed' event for TV Everywhere
Turner's NCAA March Madness Live mobile app passes 51M live streams