TBS Announces It Will Air Final Four Games Next Two Years; CBS Keeps Title Game
CBS Sports and Turner Sports today officially announced that the Final Four will be moving to cable television for the first time next year. The move, which was first reported by SportsBusiness Journal in March, will see TBS broadcast both national semifinal games in ’14 and ’15 with CBS covering the national championship games. TBS then will assume full coverage of Final Four weekend in ’16, with CBS taking it back in ’17. The nets will alternate full coverage of the Final Four weekend until their 14-year media rights agreement with the NCAA expires in ’24. CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus on a conference call this morning said, “We wanted to come up with a scenario that was better for CBS and Turner. We both win.” Turner Sports President of Sales, Distribution & Sports David Levy said splitting the Final Four up for the next two years “gave a nice opportunity for transition” to TBS covering all three Final Four games in ’16. CBS has broadcast the Final Four every year since ’82. CBS and TBS beginning next year also will evenly split up Elite Eight and Sweet 16 games through ’24. Coverage of the earlier rounds will continue on truTV, CBS, TNT and TBS, with truTV exclusively airing the tournament’s First Four. Levy said that the two nets have not discussed on-air talent for when TBS takes over the national semifinals next year. He noted talent discussions would probably take place within the next month. Financial terms of the current rights deal remain the same with the moves.