SBD/September 21, 2010/Media

Turner Taking Over Operations Of All NCAA Digital Properties

Turner Sports Will Manage And Operate NCAA Digital As Part Of 14-Year Deal

Turner Sports has signed a 14-year deal with the NCAA to operate the collegiate governing body's digital properties, replacing the CBS College Sports Network beginning next year. Turner will operate and manage the newly created NCAA Digital, encompassing NCAA.com and the NCAA's various mobile sites and applications covering its 88 championships. The NCAA Digital properties add to Turner's growing interactive portfolio that also includes NBA.com, PGATour.com, PGA.com and NASCAR.com, and oversight for SI.com. Financial terms were not disclosed, though Turner will completely manage ad sales for the venture. Turner Sports Exec VP & COO Lenny Daniels said, "This is a pretty cool thing. If done right, we can create a really great destination." The deal coincides entirely in contract length with the major partnership struck earlier this year with CBS and the NCAA for media rights to the NCAA men's basketball tournament, a pact that includes Turner's operational oversight of March Madness On Demand. Though there will be obvious operational, sales, content and promotional synergies between MMOD and NCAA Digital, the two deals were negotiated separately, Daniels said. The NCAA Digital deal is also different from the others in Turner's portfolio in that TBS and TNT have no TV rights to college sports outside of the March Madness games it will air in partnership with CBS. "That definitely makes it more challenging, in that we obviously can't bundle sales with TV in the same way we have for the other leagues," Daniels said. "But we are very bullish on the future of these assets." The company plans a refresh of NCAA.com early next year.

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