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Sources: NCAA talking to CBS, Turner Sports about hoops deal

February 5, 2010

CBS and Turner Sports are in negotiations to create a joint bid for the broadcast rights to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament if the NCAA decides to opt out of its current CBS deal.

Sources told IBJ that the broadcast and cable networks would share the rights to air the tournament if it is expanded from 64 games to 96 games as is currently being discussed by the NCAA.

The sources said other networks, including ESPN and Fox, also are considering bidding for the men’s basketball tournament known as March Madness.

The NCAA has three years remaining on an 11-year, $6 billion deal with CBS to broadcast the 65-team tournament, but the Indianapolis-based organization has an opt-out clause at the end of this season.

NCAA officials told IBJ in December that it is contemplating expanding the tournament to as many as 96 teams.

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