By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
March 22, 2013
In 2010, CBS and Turner Sports partnered on a 14-year, $10.4 billion deal to purchase the NCAA men’s basketball tournament rights. The deal is worth an approximately $771 million annually, or 90% of the NCAA’s 2012-13 revenue. By comparison, rights to the women’s tournament reportedly are $17 million per year.
Why can CBS and Turner afford to spend so much on the tournament? According to research from Kantar Media, ad revenue from the tournament topped $1 billion for the first time last year, and that total will grow this year. No other sport’s postseason has hit the $1 billion milestone.
Turner, finally, is predicting a big audience this year for its online March Madness Live platform. Last year, March Madness Live drew 51.6 million broadband and mobile visits, and Turner officials told MultiChannel News that the cable network’s “TV Everywhere” availability now exceeds 80 million households. March Madness Live sold out all its ad slots, from which Turner expects to generate $70 million, up from $60 million last year.