DirecTV, CBS extend March Madness deal

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NEW YORK -- DirecTV Group and CBS Corp. have reached a multiyear extension of an agreement that allows DirecTV to remain the exclusive national TV source for out-of-market NCAA basketball games. The two also agreed to expand the reach of CBS-owned college sports network CSTV from about 2 million to more than 8 million DirecTV customers.

Financial details of the arrangements were not disclosed. Sources said the NCAA deal's running time is four years.

DirecTV customers buying the NCAA Mega March Madness program package will receive up to 37 out-of-market CBS Sports-produced broadcasts, including high-definition broadcasts, from the first three rounds of the championship tournaments, the partners said Monday.

The games available on DirecTV will be supplemental to the broadcasts of games on the CBS network, making all matches available to DirecTV customers.

In addition, DirecTV said CSTV is now available to more than 8 million households, up from about 2 million, according to representatives at DirecTV and CBS Corp. This brings the network's total household reach to more than 20 million homes nationally.

"We continue to monetize our content across many of our programming genres, including sports, and this latest agreement with our partners at DirecTV is yet another example," CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves said. "We're not only generating new revenue through the NCAA satellite package, but by offering CSTV to more than 8 million DirecTV customers, we've significantly expanded its reach."

DirecTV president and CEO Chase Carey said the deal is consistent with his firm's philosophy that "exclusive sports programming has set DirecTV apart as the leading multichannel provider of the world's most important and exciting sporting events."

CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus said he was "very pleased" with the agreements.
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