And what about the future of March Madness? Now, things could get interesting.
Variety has suggested that “college hoops’ crown jewel, the Final Four, is poised to land on cable.”
There is no certainty of this outcome, though NCAA television experts suspect that Turner could very well show the Final Four as early as 2014, with the two broadcasting operations alternating the rights in the future.
The national championship game averaged nearly 21 million viewers last year. I can’t imagine that an executive as competitive and savvy as CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves would allow the big game to slip away from his network.
Meanwhile, Turner’s parent, Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), has an agenda of its own, of course. Time Warner is feeling strong off its move (finally) to unload the Time Inc. publishing unit, which no longer fit into Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ strategy of broadcasting and movie properties as its chief assets. Time Warner’s stock rose in early March, as word spread about the spinoff of Time Inc., a sign that Wall Street embraces Bewkes’ game plan. To continue the momentum, Time Warner would love to have the bragging rights, through its Turner subsidiary, to the 2014 Final Four, and all of that pomp and circumstance.
There are additional benefits — subtle, perhaps, but real nonetheless — for CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS) or Turner to have the Final Four. The winning network could then show commercials for its own slate of entertainment and news shows. The visibility would be terrific for, say, CBS’ early and evening news shows. On Turner’s side, CNN, which is operating under new head Jeff Zucker, could promote the news channel to a coveted prime-time audience of affluent men and women.
Is it any wonder that the TV networks love having a bad case of March Madness?
The article Why TV Loves March Madness originally appeared on Fool.com.
Fool contributor Jon Friedman owns no stock in any of the companies mentioned in this column. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
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