NCAA, CBS, Turner extend NCAA Tournament deal through 2032

Huge news here from the world of college basketball, the world of sports and business even more so: The NCAA Tournament will continue to be broadcast on CBS and Turner Sports’ networks through the year 2032. The extension to the companies’ ongoing contract was announced on Tuesday afternoon.

“The new contract … 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,” according to the joint release from CBS, Turner and the NCAA.

The new deal pushes the agreement an extra eight years; when CBS and Turner originally agreed to share partnership with the NCAA in broadcasting the NCAA Tournament in 2010, the deal went through 2024. The new contract has a rights fee of $8.8 billion. The original, 14-year deal was at $10.8 billion.

A lot of money to broadcast one of the biggest sporting events in the world. And all parties involved emphasized how much of the money CBS and Turner are paying to the NCAA will go back to the universities at the D-I and D-II level.

“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,” the release states. “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.”

The games will continue to be broadcast on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, with all of them also available to stream on March Madness Live, plus a litany of streaming applications such as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire. That part of the viewing experience will only get easier and more streamlined as the years go on.

The Final Four and national title game rotation, per this release, will stay as is: CBS and Turner will alternate. Turner had this year’s title game, meaning CBS will get it in 2017, then Turner has hosting duties again in 2018.

“The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship has been a cornerstone of CBS Sports for more than three decades, and we are very pleased to extend our successful partnership with the NCAA and Turner under the same terms that have worked so well for us these past several years,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said.

Also to continue at the site of every Final Four: the NCAA March Madness Fan Fest and Music Festival, both of which are managed and operated by Turner.

“Our partnership with CBS and the NCAA has exceeded all of our expectations,” Turner Sports president Dan Levy said.

The tournament only continues to get bigger. And on the heels of perhaps the best title game in the history of the event, what better time to announce that a new deal is in place. CBS and Turner took a big chance when choosing to team up and take on the Big Dance in 2010. It’s changed the way we watch and consume the three-weekend mega-event. Streaming was up 17 percent in the 2016 tournament compared to the year prior and going forward, that will only increase. There will be a feel a familiarity with the networks continuing to house the NCAAs, but at the same time, the new deal allows for flexibility in how people will watch and intake such an incredible, annual event.

Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Jim Nantz have called the last two Final Fours for CBS and TBS. (USATSI)
Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Jim Nantz have called the last two Final Fours for CBS and TBS. (USATSI)

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