El Segundo, Calif. -- DirecTV Inc. will charge $39 for its
newly acquired NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament package, the direct-broadcast
satellite service said last week.
DirecTV subscribers will receive up to 34 out-of-market
broadcasts from the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament as part of the package, the
company said. Subscribers can also purchase individual games for $14.95 each.
DirecTV will feature games that are not broadcast by CBS
affiliates. The network has exclusive broadcast rights to the package.
"Our partnership with CBS is a great benefit for NCAA
basketball fans," said Bill Casamo, executive vice president of DirecTV, in a
prepared statement. "'Mega March Mania' on DirecTV, combined with CBS'
coverage, will allow fans to watch every game of the 1999 NCAA Tournament."
Cable operators who were hoping to at least compete with
DirecTV for the rights to the marquee package hotly pursed it late last year. But the NCAA
Division I Men's Basketball Committee said DirecTV's small 4.1
million-subscriber universe was sufficient enough to provide fans with the ability to
watch additional games without compromising the product or hurting CBS affiliates'
While cable operators can distribute regular-season
college-basketball games via ESPN's "Full Court" PPV package, the NCAA
Tournament is arguably much more attractive to viewers. Operators, however, can distribute
out-of-market women's NCAA Tournament games through the Full Court package.