In a related move to its new contract with the NCAA to air part of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Turner Sports has signed a separate 14 year deal to operate the NCAA’s Digital Properties and include sites encompassing all 88 collegiate championships. This deal is separate from the NCAA Tournament which allows Turner Sports to take over the March Madness On Demand next season.
Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal says Turner expects to take over operation of NCAA.com starting early in 2011.
Here’s the press release from Turner and the NCAA.
Turner Sports and NCAA® Announce the Formation of NCAA DigitalAgreement to include broadband, mobile web and apps, connected devices, social media and more for all 88 NCAA championshipsTurner Sports and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) jointly announced today the formation of NCAA Digital, a 14-year agreement in which Turner will manage and operate the NCAA’s digital portfolio and strengthen coverage of all 88 NCAA championships. 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.Turner will 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.The length of the deal coincides with the NCAA’s announcement earlier this year with Turner and CBS for a new 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 across Turner’s television networks, TBS, TNT and truTV and CBS. The joint agreement also includes Turner’s operational oversight of NCAA March Madness® on Demand (MMOD) 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 Sports is a perfect fit to manage the NCAA’s digital assets,” said Greg Shaheen, NCAA interim executive vice president for championships and business strategies. “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. In addition, NCAA.com will showcase the tremendous, everyday accomplishments of NCAA student-athletes on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”“We are pleased to further extend our relationship with the NCAA to manage their digital portfolio of assets,” said Lenny Daniels, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Turner Sports. “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.”The new agreement does not include NCAA.org, the Association’s public and administrative website, or all aspects of the NCAA’s digital archival video rights. Turner Sports currently manages an impressive portfolio of digital assets including official league sites NASCAR.COM, PGATOUR.COM and PGA.com, and jointly manages NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA LEAGUE PASS Broadband, NBA Mobile, NBADLEAGUE.com, and WNBA.com. Additionally, Turner Sports oversees the operation of SI.com, and provides live video to and exclusively sells the Yahoo! Sports NASCAR, NBA, professional golf and MLB sections.
This gives Turner Sports another feather in its digital cap. As you see from above, Turner has many league sites under its portfolio and having NCAA March Madness as well as NCAA.com gives it a pretty big arsenal.