Turner Broadcasting and CBS have signed an eight-year, $8.8 billion extension of their contract to broadcast the Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, according to an NCAA announcement made late Tuesday.
The new deal has an increase of 43% per year in the fees for the rights to televise the tournament from the current $10.8 billion agreement of 14 years signed back in 2010.
Turner, which is a Time Warner, Inc division and CBS are locking the rights in to the NCAA tournament during a time when broadcasting rights’ cost are skyrocketing.
Major league sports have become one of the few events viewers now watch live on television.
Sports rights in 2019 are expected to reach $20.6 billion, which is up from the 2014 amount of $14.6 billion, showed data from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Turner President David Levy said very few sports properties available are able to deliver for consumers and for advertisers.
Both businesses said they are expecting that the deal will be profitable. The deal that is currently in existence has exceeded expectations as far as revenue, ratings and social media and digital extension.
The championship of the NCAA, which was held in March with the championship game in April, was the most watched of the past 22 years, with an average of 11.3 million viewers, an increase of 8% from 2015.
Sean McManus the chair at CBS Sports said March Madness, the name most know the NCAA Tournament by, takes over the U.S. for over two weeks each spring like no other event anywhere in the world.
CBS, says McManus, will earn a profit on this each and every year.
Under this agreement, all First Four and first and second round games will air on CBS, TBS, TNT as well as truTV with CBS and Turner splitting the coverage of the semifinals and finals of each of the four regions.
Live coverage of the tournament’s Final Four or the semifinals and the national championships will be alternated each year between Turner and CBS.