CBS and Turner Sports are in discussions to create a joint bid for the NCAA tournament rights if the NCAA decides to opt out of its current CBS deal.
The broadcaster and cable network could share rights to the tournament if the NCAA decides to expand the field to 96 teams. In that scenario, the channel broadcasting the Final Four would pay 60 percent of the annual rights fee and the other network would pay 40 percent. The broadcast partners would alternate coverage of the Final Four each year.
Other networks, including ESPN and Fox, also are considering making bids for the tournament’s rights.
The broadcasters are basing their bids on an expanded tournament field, according to a request for proposal issued by the NCAA to potential bidders late last year. A copy of the RFP was obtained by SportsBusiness Journal.
The NCAA has its sights set on expanding from a 65-team tournament to either 68 or 96 teams if it opts out of the CBS contract, according to the 12-page RFP.
A 68-team field would add three “play-in” games to the current 65-team format, and a 96-team field would expand the tournament’s inventory by 31 games.
The NCAA also says it is looking for a 14-year term on its next media deal, with a “no-penalty, early termination right in favor of the NCAA,” according to the RFP.
The NCAA is considering whether to opt out of its 11-year, $6 billion contract with CBS after the Final Four in April. The deal has three years and $2.131 billion remaining.
Wonder what this would mean if anything for D*s Mega March Madness package.