Why CBS and Turner Have 900 Million Reasons to Welcome Back March Madness

Tim Baysinger
·1-min read

CBS and Turner have many reasons to be glad that March Madness is returning this year. Roughly 900 million reasons. Following a lost year when the NCAA’s annual spring tournament became the first big sports casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, the competition returns next Thursday with some pandemic-era tweaks: games played in just one state (Indiana) and a slightly different broadcast schedule. And that means a resumption in the big payday for CBS and Turner, which brought in $910 million in national TV ad revenue in 2019 and $4.5 billion over the last five years. The two networks have jointly presented the three-week event for the last decade and split the revenue equally. “Sometimes you don’t really appreciate what you have until it’s taken away from you,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said Wednesday during a virtual press conference. “It was really heartbreaking.” Also Read: NHL Skates Back to ESPN With New 7-Year TV and Streaming Deal The NCAA also took a massive financial hit from the tournament’s cancellation. Shortly after the tournament was benched last year, the NCAA announced that it would slash $375 million from the money it distributes to member Division I schools. The tournament generates...

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