Feb 1, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT
Citing sources at ESPN and the administration at “a powerhouse NCAA basketball school” (Note: Probably not Fordham), SportsbyBrooks is reporting that negotiations to expand the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to 96 teams “is a done deal.” Sports Business Journal is also reporting that the NCAA has been negotiating in earnest with TV networks to expand the field, and that CBS and Turner Broadcasting are negotiating a joint bid to broadcast the tourney should CBS opt out of its current deal. This will greatly help the economy in my opinion, as most businesses will now be forced to hire full-time people to run their suddenly enormous March Madness office pools. That 48-game opening weekend is going to be a bitch.
An ESPN source said, “It’s a done deal with the expansion of the tournament. Depending on how soon a (TV) deal is done, the added teams could start next year. The NCAA confirmed that bidders would be interested in 96 teams, so they’re going with it.”
Another ESPN source confirmed to me that the network was in the formative stages of pondering a bid for the expanded tournament.
I’ve always assumed that expansion was coming, but that it would be in stages, with 68 teams the next rung in the ladder. But the NCAA evidently wants a new TV deal, and a 96-team field would open the bidding to include other networks. According to Sports Business Journal, the current CBS contract is for three more years and $2.131 billion.
I’m amused by the reaction so far to this news, as many are wringing their hands and pointing out that the NCAA is only doing this for money. Well, isn’t that the reason the NCAA does anything? How are we surprised by this?
A 96-team field will have a serious impact on coaching resumes, I’m assuming. You can write “made five straight NCAA Tournamant appearances” in there, but the athletic director can then point to the custodian and say “He made six straight.”
Anyway, this should probably kill off the College Basketball Invitational. Long did it reign.
Sources: 96-Team March Madness Is “Done Deal” [SportsbyBrooks]
NCAA, TV talk about bigger men’s tourney [Sports Business Journal]
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found