Turner Tips Off NCAA Digital

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Turner Sports and the National Collegiate Athletic Association have formed NCAA Digital, a 14-year agreement under which Turner will manage and operate the association's digital portfolio and strengthen coverage of all 88 of its championships.
NCAA Digital encompasses NCAA.com and additional NCAA digital platforms, including mobile and web applications, as well as other connected devices. Turner will enhance editorial coverage and the technology behind live video streaming, stats, highlights and social media interactivity, as well as manage ad sales for NCAA digital platforms.
Previously, these interactive rights were held by CBS and administered by CBSSports.com.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, doesn't extend to live event coverage, most of the rights to which are retained by ESPN and expressed via its myriad properties.
Moreover, it does not include NCAA.org, the group's public and administrative website, or all aspects of the NCAA's digital archival video rights.
Under the new pact, Turner will focus its efforts for NCAA Digital on all 88 NCAA championship tournaments across 23 sports -- men's and women's --in all three divisions. It has committed to providing increased original programming, studio shows, enhanced selection shows, live video for those events and related features. Turner Sports, working in transition with CBS, plans to relaunch NCAA.com during the first quarter of 2011.
"We are pleased to further extend our relationship with the NCAA to manage their digital portfolio of assets," said Turner Sports executive vice president and COO Lenny Daniels in a statement. "Turner's aggressive digital strategy has established a leadership position for the company in branded sports content on emerging platforms. We look forward to working with the NCAA, and using the knowledge, resources and digital expertise we've gained by managing some of the most popular league sites on the internet, to create a truly exceptional online fan experience on NCAA.com and its companion digital extensions."
"Turner Sports is a perfect fit to manage the NCAA's digital assets," added Greg Shaheen, NCAA interim executive vice president for championships and business strategies. "The agreement will enable Turner and the NCAA to enhance the coverage of all 88 NCAA championships across multiple digital platforms. NCAA Digital will provide fans, student-athletes and their families with reliable, in-depth resources to engage with NCAA championship events both live and on demand. In addition, NCAA.com will showcase the tremendous, everyday accomplishments of NCAA student-athletes on the court, in the classroom and in the community."
The length of NCAA Digital coincides with the association's agreement with Turner and CBS for a new 14-year television, Internet and wireless rights agreement to present the Division I men's basketball championship, tipping off in 2011. As part of the agreement, the tournament will air across Turner's television networks, TBS, TNT and TruTV, which will air the "First Four" contests in the expanded tourney, and CBS.
Under that $10.8 billion agreement, Turner also will have operational oversight of NCAA March Madness on Demand on broadband, as well as March Madness mobile assets. Turner and CBS will also jointly share sponsorship sales responsibilities for MMOD and its mobile assets.

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