College Sports Network Lands NCAA Tourneys in Deal With CBS

Nov 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

CSTV, the College Sports Television network, will produce and televise the NCAA championships of nine sports under a deal signed with CBS last week
“We’re excited about having the regular season, conference championships and national championships,” said Brian Bedol, president and CEO of CSTV. Mr. Bedol said CSTV will allow fans to get to know teams over the course of a year. “This gives us a full season, from opening day to the championships.”
CBS last year signed a $6 billion 13-year deal giving it the television rights to 67 NCAA championships, including the men’s basketball Final Four.
CSTV, which went on the air six months ago, will air the playoffs and finals for some of the lower-profile sports, including the first live television coverage of the women’s ice hockey championships, women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s water polo.
The deal calls for CSTV to pay a relatively modest rights fee to CBS, an amount executives familiar with the deal pegged in the five-figure range. Some promotional considerations are also included in the agreement.
CBS and CSTV worked together during the spring on women’s lacrosse and the early-round games in the men’s baseball championship. CSTV’s production was good enough for CBS to want to extend the agreement.
“We like the concept of CSTV,” aid Mike Aresco, senior VP, programming, CBS Sports. “We could potentially do some other things with them as they gain distribution and they become a more attractive vehicle for some of our NCAA product.”
CSTV is available in about 15 million satellite and cable households. It is beginning to reach homes through some digital sports tiers.
Those tiers look attractive to Mr. Bedol. “While the tiers may be a threat to the network in 70 million homes who have to think about what their business would look like in 50 million homes, if you’re starting at zero, that looks pretty attractive,” he said.