The NCAA has extended its deal with CBS and Turner Sports for eight years regarding the television rights for the NCAA Tournament, per ESPN. As a result, the big dance will remain on CBS and Turner networks until 2032.
“One reason we’re confident the tournament will remain the premier event it is, is the financial underpinning that CBS and Turner are providing to the NCAA,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in addressing the deal.
This extension will also pay approximately $1.1 billion per season, up from the $770 million per year made on the current contract.
But the deal in itself comes at an interesting time, especially since the NCAA Tournament final was on cable for the first time this year and drew record-low ratings, a trend that occurred all tournament. That’s a contrast from last year, when TBS had the Final Four and ratings were high.
Just the same, the interest in the NCAA Tournament is clearly there and viewership is going to vary from season to season. For example, in 2015, all eyes were on Kentucky to see if they could execute a perfect season. This year, however, there was so much parity that there was no real clear-cut favorite to win it all. Moreover, one favorite in Michigan State was eliminated in the first round, so that probably took some of the wind out of the TV ratings’ sails.
Either way, the NCAA Tournament on CBS and, more recently, Turner, has been a staple for years and this deal ensures that fans can and will receive the same viewing experience.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to NCAA