CBS, Turner Re-Up March Madness Pact Through 2032

CBS Sports and Turner have inked an eight-year extension for its multimedia rights to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship, taking the pact through 2032. The rights sold for $8.8 billion.

Turner and CBS Sports will provide live coverage of all March Madness games across any platform within their respective portfolios, including those to be created over the duration of the agreement. The broadcast partners will continue to collaborate on the NCAA’s corporate marketing program, and Turner will continue to manage March Madness Live and, along with events surrounding the NCAA championship.

“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,” said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. “This spectacular tournament continues to solidify CBS’s position as a leading broadcaster of signature championship events, delivering an unparalleled opportunity to present one of our nation’s most popular sports franchises. Best of all, this historic extension positions CBS for a profitable future as we fully maximize the value and exposure of this great event across all assets of our corporation, both current platforms and those created during the lifetime of the deal.”

In 2010, the NCAA announced a $10.8 billion, 14-year deal to give CBS and Turner joint rights through 2024. For the first time, earlier this month, Turner broadcasted the semifinals and final on its cable channels. The final averaged 17.8 million total viewers and a 13.2 household rating, per the Nielsen fast nationals.

“Our partnership with CBS and the NCAA has exceeded all of our expectations, and this new long-term agreement continues to align Turner with one of the premier sports properties that generates unrivaled fan engagement for more than three weeks every year,” said Turner president David Levy. “Our expansive rights provide us with a tremendous opportunity to build and pursue new business extensions while developing an even deeper connection with our fans across existing platforms, as well as those to be created in the future. As we pursue all of these opportunities, Turner is uniquely positioned to monetize these broad rights across every aspect of our business.” 

Under the new agreement, all opening-, first- and second-round games will continue to be shown across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, with Turner and CBS splitting coverage of the regional semifinals and regional finals each year.  Live coverage of the semifinals and national championship will continue to alternate between CBS and Turner, with CBS broadcasting the games in 2017.

Mark Emmert, NCAA president, noted how the rights fees help support student-athletes on 19,000 teams across 24 sports.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.