March Madness set to grow' new TV deal

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase the size of the NCAA Tournament field size to 68 teams beginning in 20111, the NCAA announced today.

The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.

The NCAA also announced a new television arrangement, which allows for as many as four games to be shown live simultaneously. The deal is valued at $10.8 billion and begins in 2011 and goes through 2024.

First- and second-round games will be shown nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional semifinal games. CBS will provide coverage of the regional finals, as well as the Final Four, including the national title game through 2015.

Beginning in 2016, coverage of the regional finals will be split by CBS and Turner with the Final Four and the national title game alternating every year between the CBS and TBS.

“This is an important day for intercollegiate athletics and the 400,000 student-athletes who compete in NCAA sports,” said NCAA Interim President Jim Isch in a statement. “This agreement will provide on average more than $740 million annually to our conferences and member schools to help student-athletes in 23 sports learn and compete.”

“We’re excited this agreement continues our long-standing relationship with CBS, a partner company that has captured the unique spirit of the collegiate model of athletics, and brings a new partner in Turner Broadcasting to the championship and NCAA basketball,” added Isch.