NCAA signs new $920M TV deal with ESPN
The NCAA has signed a new, eight-year TV deal worth nearly $1 billion to cover 40 of its championships with ESPN, the collegiate organization announced Thursday.
Why it matters: This is the first of multiple, big media deal dominoes to fall in 2024 and represents a hefty increase in value.
Details: The agreement is valued at $115 million annually, NCAA President Charlie Baker told Sports Business Journal. That total includes roughly $28 million in production and marketing costs.
- The deal includes all previous championships under the current deal, which expires after this school year. It also adds the Division I men's and women's tennis team championships and the national collegiate men's gymnastics championship.
- Division II and Division III also add coverage on ESPN platforms of championships in men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball.
- The 2032 expiration of the deal now puts it on the same timeline as the men's basketball tournament's media deal with Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery.
- It was an open question on how valuable the group of championships would have been without the inclusion of the women's basketball tournament.
- Baker told SBJ that they valued the women's tournament at $65 million annually, accounting for roughly 56% of the deal's annual value.
The big picture: The media rights market is tightening amid the secular decline of cable and the last decade of rising costs for sports.
- That's forced leagues to seek out more TV partners than before and reach out to tech giants like Amazon, Apple and YouTube that are increasingly looking to get into sports.
- NASCAR expanded from two to four TV partners, adding Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon, to help land a 40% fee increase.
What's next: The NBA's rights will be the one to watch in 2024 — its deals with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery expire in 2025.
- Additionally, the College Football Playoff will court additional TV partners for next year's expanded 12-team format. In 2026, the entire playoff will be up for grabs.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say that NCAA president Charlie Baker told the Sports Business Journal the women's tournament would account for roughly 56% of the deal's annual value, not 75%.