CBS and Turner Extend Deal to Broadcast NCAA Tournament Through 2032

CBS and Turner Broadcasting have reached a deal with the NCAA to extend their right to broadcast the NCAA tournament for another eight years. With this new eight year extension, CBS and Turner will be broadcasting March Madness all the way through 2032. The extension itself pays an average of $1.1 billion per season, for a total of $8.8 billion, which is higher than the $770 million average under the current contract.

This year was the first year that the championship game was aired on cable, and it drew a record-low rating, following the tournament-long trend of diminished viewership. Nonetheless, CBS and Turner decided that an eight year extension was a good idea, with Turner president David Levy saying “We believe it will be financially profitable in the end.”

One reason that CBS and Turner are confident that the tournament is going to remain as popular as it is, according to CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, is “the financial underpinning that CBS and Turner are providing to the NCAA,” according to an article in US News and World Report. Another reason is likely that certain provisions in the agreement protect both CBS and Turner in the event that the tournament should “start to look very different.” One reason for these protections’ necessity is the fact that with the NCAA facing multiple legal challenges, quite a bit can change in the 16 years left until 2032.

According to USA Today, over 90 percent of the revenue generated from the eight year extension is going to be used to benefit college athletes “through programs, services or direct distribution to member conferences and schools.” Even so, it is highly likely that this incredibly lucrative deal for the NCAA will be seen as another instance of the organization making huge profits at the expense of college athletes who are not paid for their services.

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