DirecTV Dishes HD ‘Mega March Madness’ Assist


DirecTV, in keeping with its commitment to high-definition programming, will offer all of the games under its “Mega March Madness” pay-per-view package in the enhanced format for the first time.

Officials at the satellite leader, which holds exclusive rights to the PPV out-of-market package through 2010 via a multiyear deal with Division 1 men's basketball tourney rights-holder CBS, said that all 37 Mega March Madness games, will be available in HD format, for $69 retail. The tournament tips off March 20.

All of the contests, encompassing the tournament's first three rounds and supplementing CBS's broadcasts, will feature an on-screen L-wrap, inviting viewers to access scores and stats.

Moreover, the package includes a number of other interactive features, notably a Game Mix channel, via which college hoops fans can watch four games simultaneously on a single channel.

Up-to-the-minute scores and stats are available at the push of a button. Subscribers need an interactive receiver in order to see scores from other contests while viewing the game on the host channel

DirecTV is also presenting an on-screen tournament bracket, enabling allows to input and track their own game picks.

Further, fans at work or stuck in traffic that want to record games for later viewing, can do so remotely via their home and DirecTV’s free DVR scheduler service. Fans can search and browse the guide and schedule recordings by going to through their computer or on their mobile phone.

"The Mega March Madness service is truly the only comprehensive NCAA tournament package out there,” said Eric Shanks, executive vice president of DirecTV Entertainment, in a statement. “While other providers may be content to show highlights, DirecTV is offering fans exclusive access to up to 37 live games from the first three rounds of the tournament, and this year, all of the games are in HD. By combining our award-winning interactive enhancements with expanded HD, we continue to add an exciting dimension to the tournAment broadcast and the customer’s viewing experience.”

For the second straight year, UCLA coach Ben Howland, whose Bruins are vying for a No. 1 seed, will serve as the spokesman for Mega March Madness package.

Currently counting 16.8 million subscribers, DirecTV has 92 national HD channels.