NCAA Pitches DVDs, ‘Net Downloads

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The NCAA began selling DVDs and online downloads of about 5,000 games from various college sports on its Web site, but the organization apparently isn’t offering the content to cable operators, telephone companies and satellite providers for video-on-demand distribution.

Through an agreement with Web firm Thought Equity Motion, the NCAA is selling 5,000 DVDs from men’s and women’s championships on its site, including basketball, ice hockey, wrestling, baseball, softball and lacrosse.

The NCAA said additional programming -- including replays of every game of the 2006 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, in addition to streaming highlight reels of legendary players -- will be available for online downloads.

DVDs listed for sale on NCAA On Demand cost $24.99 apiece, including the 2002 Women’s Ice Hockey National Championship and the 2005 Men’s Wrestling National Championship.

NCAA spokeswoman Gail Dent said she didn’t know if the NCAA On Demand content would eventually be distributed to pay TV providers.

Sarah Johnson, a representative for public-relations firm GroundFloor Media, confirmed that the games won’t be distributed through VOD platforms from pay TV providers. The games will also be sold through Amazon.com, she added.

The NCAA is also offering the first 56 games of this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament free-of-charge on the Web. And the league has a deal with DirecTV to sell a $69 Mega March Madness out-of-market pay-per-view package, which is only available to DirecTV customers.

The “Big Dance” tips off March 13.

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