Friday, April 23, 2010

A SLIGHTLY BIGGER DANCE

The suits in Kansas announced a smaller-than-expected expansion of the mens' D1 basketball tournament from 65 to 68 teams yesterday. We presume that means a “play in” game in each bracket.

Good news, is the new television deal means more live games and less jumping around during that game you are desperately trying to watch.

According to the AP here’s the scoop:

College sports’ largest governing body plans to expand next year’s March Madness field from 65 to 68 teams without making a major format change. It also said it has reached a new 14-year, $10.8 billion deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting that keeps the door open to more expansion.

“What is remarkable is that it is exclusively at the NCAA’s discretion regarding field size for the championship,” NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen said, referring to language in the TV deal.

The new 68-team tourney is expected to be approved next Thursday by the NCAA’s Board of Directors, and Shaheen said there were no plans to immediately look at a 96-team field many were expecting for 2011.

But the winning television networks didn’t need more teams or extra games to sell them on the new TV package.

CBS was relieved to get rid of the final three years on its previous 11-year, $6 billion contract—three years that included steep $700 million annual payments. Turner Broadcasting jumps from being a non-player in the college basketball world to having the sport’s marquee event—including championship games in alternating years starting in 2016.

And the NCAA gets its long-desired wish of seeing every game telecast nationally with fewer live look-ins and switching away from blowouts.

To read more, click here.

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