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Talking NCAA Tourney Deal With CBS, Turner Sports Presidents
CNBC.com | March 16, 2011 | 04:45 PM EDT

Last year, CBS and Turner signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal to broadcast the men's NCAA basketball tournament. I sat down with Sean McManus , CBS News and Sports president, and David Levy, Turner’s president of Sales, Distribution and Sports, to discuss the deal.

Darren: A 14-year deal. That’s a long one. Is it the longest you’ve done?

McManus: Other than my marriage? It’s close. We did an SEC football and basketball deal that was 15 years and we just did an eight-year PGA Championship extension. We believe sports is so valuable that it makes sense for the CBS Corporation to devote ourselves to long deals.

Darren: Fourteen years (with no opt-out) is a long time in this economy. How can you be sure what you are buying now will be worth that towards the end of the contract?

Levy: By boss and his boss asked that question. Why are we doing a 14 year deal? And the answer really is the fact that what other tournament, what other event that you know of in television, other than the Super Bowl, that has a built-in passion base that people are filling out their brackets. To be able to have this event for 14 years? This is something that we’re all going to be successful on a profit basis because we don’t enter into any business relationship without making money and over the 14-year period we certainly will.

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