ESPN Misses Out On March Madness Rights As Tourney Expands To 68 Teams

22 04 2010

NCAA March Madness sticks with CBS (Image via gambling911)

The NCAA just announced a $10.8 billion, 14-year agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

The deal, which includes TV, Internet, and wireless rights, stipulates that every single game of the tournament will appear live on either CBS, TBS, TNT, or truTV.

Because of this, the NCAA was able to expand the number of teams included in the tournament to 68.

ESPN was heavily-favored to win the rights, but apparently passed on the opportunity to meet CBS/Turner’s aggressive bid.  The network released the following statement:

We made an aggressive bid and believe our combination of TV distribution, digital capabilities, season-long coverage and year-round marketing would have served the interests of the NCAA and college fans very well.  We remain committed to our unparalleled coverage of more than 1,200 men’s and women’s college basketball games each season.

Read the entire NCAA press release on the new agreement here.




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