September 21, 2010: Turner Sports has signed a 14-year deal with the National Collegiate Athletic Association to form NCAA Digital, under which Turner will "manage and operate the NCAA’s digital portfolio and strengthen coverage of all 88 NCAA championships."
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The length of the pact coincides with the NCAA’s deal earlier this year with Turner and CBS for a 14-year television, Internet and wireless rights agreement to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning in 2011. As part of the agreement, the tournament will air on CBS and across Turner’s networks: TBS, TNT and truTV.
The deal for NCAA Digital also includes Turner’s 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 MMOD and its mobile assets.
Turner said it would focus its efforts for NCAA Digital on all 88 NCAA Championship tournaments across 23 sports (men’s and women’s) in all three divisions, with a "commitment to increased original programming, studio shows, enhanced selection shows, live video for those events and related features." Turner Sports plans to re-launch NCAA.com during the first quarter of 2011, in time for the men's and women's Division I basketball tournaments.
Turner Sports currently manages a portfolio of digital assets that includes Nascar.com, PGATour.com and PGA.com; and jointly manages NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, WNBA.com, NBA League Pass and League Pass Broadband and NBA Mobile. Turner Sports also oversees the operation of SI.com, and provides live video to and exclusively sells the Yahoo! Sports Nascar, NBA, professional golf and MLB sections.
NCAA Digital encompasses 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, as well as manage ad sales for NCAA digital platforms. The new agreement does not include NCAA.org, the NCAA’s public and administrative Web site, or all aspects of the NCAA’s digital archival video rights.
“We are pleased to further extend our relationship with the NCAA to manage their digital portfolio of assets,” Lenny Daniels, evp/COO for Turner Sports, said in a statement. “Turner’s aggressive digital strategy has established a leadership position for the company in branded sports content on emerging platforms. We look forward to working with the NCAA, and using the knowledge, resources and digital expertise we've gained by managing some of the most popular league sites on the internet, to create a truly exceptional online fan experience on NCAA.com and its companion digital extensions.”
"Turner’s aggressive digital strategy has established a leadership position for the company in branded sports content on emerging platforms."
According to Greg Shaheen, NCAA interim evp for championships and business strategies, “Turner Sports is a perfect fit to manage the NCAA’s digital assets. 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."
Shaheen also stressed that NCAA.com would showcase the "tremendous, everyday accomplishments of NCAA student-athletes on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”