IBJNews

Turner gets digital rights to NCAA championships

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Turner Sports and the NCAA announced a 14-year digital rights deal Tuesday that includes management of NCAA.com, the primary web site for all 88 NCAA tournaments and other services.

"We're doing this for a couple of reasons, and we would never do a stupid economic deal," said Lenny Daniels, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Turner Sports. "The long-term television world is going to change, and we think everything is, eventually, going to be interconnected."

Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.

If Daniels is right, Turner Sports' second major coup with the NCAA in five months may put the network in a stronger position to land future contracts.

In April, Turner and CBS announced they were teaming up as broadcast partners for the NCAA's marquee event, the men's basketball tournament, winning a bidding war with a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal that means each game will be broadcast live for the first time in the 73-year history of the event. The Indianapolis-based NCAA will get an additional $740 million per year, on average, from that deal — money it says will go back to individual schools and conferences.

But Turner Sports could be the big winner.

Beginning this season, Turner will carry games on three of its cable channels (TBS, TNT and truTV), will begin alternating title game broadcasts with CBS in 2016 and now holds digital rights to all NCAA championships across all three divisions.

"I think people won't understand until March how prominent their (Turner's) role is going to be in this agreement," said Greg Shaheen, the NCAA's interim executive vice president of championships and business strategies. "The tournament is going to have a different look and a different feel and how it is covered will be a much better experience for the viewer. They (Turner) are the ones who did a lot of the homework on this and they're formidable."

Turner already has operational oversight of March Madness On Demand, which drew 3 million viewers on the first Thursday of last season's NCAA tourney, as part of its television deal with CBS.

While the governing body's primary web site, NCAA.org, will continue to be run by the national office, Turner Sports wants to add the other NCAA digital platforms to its long list of successful web sites. Among those already being managed or operated by Turner are NASCAR.com, PGATOUR.com and PGA.com and NBA.com and WNBA.com.

Turner Sports is a division of Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting System Inc., based in Atlanta. It also oversees the operation of SI.com.

What will change on the NCAA sites is not exactly clear yet.

Daniels said Turner Sports is still researching what Internet surfers want to see. He's already committed to adding more live coverage and more highlights from championship events.

Shaheen hopes to see more coverage of "The Road to the Final Four," though it is unlikely to include open coverage of the currently closed-door selection process.

"We're going to see if something is missing," Daniels said. "If you look across the whole college sports world, you'll see it (Internet coverage) is pretty fragmented. We want this to become the place you go to for college sports."

The free streaming, on-demand services could also get a facelift.

"We would expect March Madness on Demand to take the next step forward," Shaheen said, though he didn't explain what that would be. "I'll defer to the experts, but they know we want to explore what provides the best possible experience for the viewer."

Shaheen also acknowledged that the twin 14-year deals were no coincidence.

Turner Sports started discussing the digital rights while it was still working on the men's basketball television deal, and the negotiations continued through the summer.

Turner has agreed to cover the cost of the upgrades, and the NCAA will still retain the right to make money from digital services.

"It really is a commitment by Turner to handle the startup and the overall expense and over time, depending on the site's performance," Shaheen said. "The association has the opportunity to share (in profits) as it goes forward."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • You seen NASCAR.COM?
    Sorry "less better" = worse. :)
  • You seen NASCAR.COM?
    I hope Turner runs the NCAA website better than they do NASCAR Interactive and NASCAR.com. After the 2001 TV contract and Turner took over NASCAR's web prescence, innovation went down and fees went up and up. What was free then cost money and it was less better than the old free parts that NASCAR had done for them. AND NASCAR.com is only now, looking at least half way professional but others still do it better.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

ADVERTISEMENT