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CBS and Turner Cut $11 Billion Deal with NCAA

NEW YORK: CBS will be keeping March Madness for a while. The network is reported to have cut a deal with the NCAA on a new 14-year, $10.8 billion deal for the college basketball franchise. The deal brings in Turner Broadcasting’s cable networks for some of the early games, according to CNN’s news blog.

CNN, a sister network to the Turner clan, says the deal takes effect with next year’s season and extends through 2024. CBS will share opening, first and second round coverage with TBS, TNT and truTV (formerly Court TV) starting next year. The broadcast network will take the regional finals and the Final Four through 2015, then in 2016, it will split both with TBS. The two also will trade coverage of the National Championship in 2016. The deal covers broadcast and online streaming rights.

The NCAA had another three years on an 11-year, $6 billion contract with CBS, but elected to opt out, USA Today (opens in new tab) said. The publication says the deal was constructed to cost the network more as the contract matured--more than $700 million a year for the last three. The new deal provides the conference schools with a collective $740 million a year, split by the new media consortium.

The National College Athletic Association concurrently announced the expansion of the March playoffs to 68 teams from 65. A 96-team field had previously been considered.