Turner Sports To Operate NCAA Digital Properties

By Marcus Vanderberg 

Turner Sports has signed a 14-year deal with the NCAA to operate the digital properties for NCAA.com.

Turner plans to re-launch NCAA.com during the first quarter of 2011 with a focus on increased original programming, enhanced selection shows and live video for all 88 NCAA Championship tournaments across 23 sports. The deal also includes March Madness On Demand.

“Turner Sports is a perfect fit to manage the NCAA’s digital assets,” said 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.”

Earlier this year, Turner and CBS won a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal to broadcast the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Turner Sports and the NCAA first discussed digital rights during negotiations for a new college basketball deal.

Not included in the deal are NCAA.org, the Association’s public and administrative website, or all aspects of the NCAA’s digital archival video rights.

Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.

Turner Sports adds to its impressive digital resume that already includes NBA.com, WNBA.com, PGATOUR.com, and NASCAR.com.

“We’re doing this for a couple of reasons, and we would never do a stupid economic deal,” said Lenny Daniels, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Turner Sports. “The long-term television world is going to change, and we think everything is, eventually, going to be interconnected.”