Turner Sports and the NCAA Form NCAA Digital in 14-Year Agreement

Turner Sports and the NCAA said Tuesday that they have signed a 14-year agreement to form an operation called NCAA Digital, wherein Turner will manage and operate the NCAA's digital portfolio and strengthen coverage of all 88 NCAA championships. According to the parties, NCAA Digital will encompass NCAA.com and additional NCAA digital platforms, including mobile Web and applications, as well as other connected devices. Turner will enhance editorial coverage and the technology behind live video streaming, stats, highlights and social media interactivity, the parties say, as well as manage ad sales for NCAA digital platforms.

According to Turner and the NCAA, Turner will focus its efforts for NCAA Digital on all 88 NCAA Championship tournaments across 23 sports (both men's and women's) in all three divisions, with a commitment to increased original programming, studio shows, enhanced selection shows, and live video for those events and related features. Turner Sports says it plans to re-launch NCAA.com during the first quarter of 2011.

The length of the deal coincides with the NCAA's announcement earlier this year with Turner and CBS of a new, 14-year TV, Internet and wireless rights agreement to present the Division I Men's Basketball Championship starting in 2011. As part of the agreement, the parties say, the tournament will air across Turner's TV networks TBS, TNT and truTV, and CBS. The joint agreement also gives Turner operational oversight of NCAA March Madness on Demand on broadband, as well as March Madness mobile assets. Turner and CBS will also jointly share sponsorship sales responsibilities for March Madness on Demand and its mobile assets. "Turner Sports is a perfect fit to manage the NCAA's digital assets," Greg Shaheen, the NCAA's interim EVP for championships and business strategies, said in a prepared statement. "The agreement will enable Turner and the NCAA to enhance the coverage of all 88 NCAA championships across multiple digital platforms. NCAA Digital will provide fans, student-athletes and their families with reliable, in-depth resources to engage with NCAA championship events both live and on-demand. In addition, NCAA.com will showcase the tremendous, everyday accomplishments of NCAA student-athletes on the court, in the classroom and in the community."

According to Turner and the NCAA, their agreement does not include NCAA.org, the NCAA's public and administrative Web site, or any aspects of the NCAA's digital archival video rights. Other digital assets currently managed by Turner Sports include the official league sites, nascar.com, pgatour.com and pga.com. It also jointly manages NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA League Pass, NBA League Pass Broadband, NBA Mobile, NBADLeague.com and WNBA.com. In addition, it oversees the operation of SI.com, and provides live video to and exclusively sells the Yahoo! Sports Nascar, NBA, professional golf and MLB sections.

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