CBS Was Going To Pay ESPN To Take March Madness

duke basketball

As we reported last week, CBS Sports teamed up with Turner Sports to submit a $10.8 billion bid for rights to the NCAA March Madness tournaments.

But late last fall CBS had a different plan. 

The New York Times reports that CBS considered paying ESPN to take the rights to the 2010-2013 tournaments.

Although it would make for an unusual partnership, the deal made sense. CBS was set to lose at least $650 million on the three remaining tournaments included in its $6 billion deal with the NCAA. ESPN had the funds and the channel capacity to air the series of college basketball games.

But both sides eventually backed out. According to the Times, after it became clear that the NCAA would be opting out of the last three years of its current contract, CBS enlisted Turner and the two edged out ESPN.

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