Beginning in 2014, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will split and rotate coverage of the Final Four and national championship games, the networks announced Tuesday morning.
In 2014 and 2015, TBS will televise the two national semifinal games, while CBS will broadcast the national championship game. Moreover, the two networks will also begin splitting the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games.
The rotation will start in 2016, when TBS will broadcast the national championship game. CBS broadcasts the game in 2017.
“From the beginning, our partnership with Turner Sports has exceeded every one of our expectations,” said Sean McManus, chairman, CBS Sports. “Today's news represents another win-win arrangement that continues to help us extend the reach of this marquee property by combining the resources of our two organizations. As we have done since 1982, CBS is pleased to showcase the National Championship game in 2014 and 2015.”
“Since the inception of our partnership, I don't think we could have envisioned such a seamless collaboration between our two companies both in front of and behind the cameras,” added David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “Coming off another incredible year of strong ratings and exciting games, the popularity of the NCAA Tournament and Final Four continues to resonate with fans across the country. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to televise the Final Four national semifinal games and two of the Elite Eight games on TBS beginning next year, and for the network to televise its first National Championship game in 2016.”
CBS has televised the NCAA tournament since 1982, taking over the entire tournament in 1991. Beginning three years ago, CBS Sports and Turner Sports shared the first four rounds of the tournament, with CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV splitting up the Round of 64 and Round of 32 games. CBS and TBS then split the Sweet 16 games, with CBS televising the Elite Eight, Final Four and national championship contests.
In 2010, CBS Sports and Turner Sports reached a 14-year partnership with the NCAA to televise the NCAA tournament through 2024. The recently completed 2013 NCAA tournament was the most-watched NCAA tournament in 19 years.