NCAA Webcasts Will Carry Commercials

NEW YORK CBS said today that is offering high-speed Internet users live streaming video of up to 37 games in the first three rounds of the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament for $9.95.

The “March Madness on Demand” Webcasts, also available at, will mirror the network television viewing experience by carrying commercials during the normal broadcast breaks. Ten advertisers, including McDonald’s, Cingular, Pontiac and Nintendo, have signed on to insert their 15- or 30-second spots in the Web programming, according to a CBS Sportsline representative.

So as to not encroach on the terrain of the NCAA’s TV partners, online viewers will be blacked out of games broadcast on their local CBS affiliate. They also will be barred access to the Elite Eight and Final Four games, which will be aired on nationwide television; those last seven games will be archived on the Web for future viewing.

The NCAA Webcasts are being hosted and produced by New York-based streaming video provider The FeedRoom, in association with CBS, also New York. While most hoops fans must pay to watch the games online, AOL for Broadband members can tune in at no charge through a deal struck between America Online’s New York parent, Time Warner, and CBS Sportsline.

Last year, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! offered video coverage of two games from the first two days of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, along with select daily features and highlights as a part of its $9.95 per month Platinum programming.