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NCAA may break its own bundle

Illustration of a bitcoin connected to a baseball, basketball, and soccer ball

Illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios

The NCAA has picked Endeavor's Karen Brodkin and Hillary Mandel to advise on its next media rights deal, Sports Business Journal reports.

Why it matters: ESPN has paid the NCAA roughly $40 million annually, per the SBJ, during their current 12-year deal, which expires following the 2023-24 school year.

Of note: The NCAA is considering a major change with its next rights deal by unbundling many of its championships, most notably the Women's Basketball tournament.

  • While major conferences such as the Big 12 and SEC negotiate their own rights, the NCAA controls the ones for its championships, with a major exception being the College Football Playoff.

The big picture: Up until now, the NCAA has bundled the rights to its championships, except for the men's basketball tournament and both men's and women's Division I golf.

  • Along with women's basketball, the NCAA is considering separate agreements for women's volleyball, the Frozen Four, College World Series and Women’s College World Series.
  • Breaking out those sports could make it harder for lesser-viewed ones, such as swimming, gymnastics, bowling and fencing, to garner TV dollars because those sports rely on being packaged with more popular ones.

What's next: Talks aren't supposed to begin with ESPN on a new deal until the end of this year, SBJ reports.

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