Step One to NCAApocalypse: Opt OutPosted by rtmsf on April 14th, 2010
According to a piece published in Sports Business Journal yesterday, NCAA president Jim Isch is close to an announcement to recommend that the organization opt out of the last three years of its 11-year, $6B contract with CBS, and in so doing open the Grandest Postseason Spectacle in All of Sports open to the highest bidder(s) under a 96-team format. An announcement on his recommendation could come as soon as this week, and the NCAA Executive Committee will meet on April 29 to formally make a decision.
One aspect of these negotiations that has been lost on many commentators to date, including us, is the admission that over-the-air network CBS is in favor of such a move just as much as the NCAA. The Blinking Eye is seeking some relief for the over two billion dollars it’s on the hook for over the final three years of the agreement, and the possibility of picking up a partner cable network such as Turner Sports or allowing ESPN to take it over completely would defray some of its considerable costs. Despite improved ratings and a great all-around Tournament from start to finish in 2010, the network still took a bath on this year’s Big Dance. This quote from an executive within CBS is telling: “It’s pretty clear that an over-the-air network can’t afford this event by itself.”
All those emails we hope you’ve been sending to Isch (firstname.lastname@example.org) do not appear to be working, and we certainly understand why. Dollar signs are all anyone cares to see here, and short of Myles Brand coming back from the grave to pull a Ghost of March Madness Past on Isch and company in their sleep, nothing is going to change. As we said last month, prepare yourselves. We’re going to have all summer to bitch and moan about this isch.