March Madness Expands to 68 Teams

CBS re-ups with new 14-year contract
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2010 12:41 PM CDT
Duke's Gerald Henderson, center, grabs a rebound during a game against Villanova in the regional semifinals of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, March 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

(Newser) – March Madness will be just a wee bit madder next year, expanding from 65 teams to 68, the NCAA announced today. Essentially there will be three extra early “play-in” games, ESPN explains. There had been talk of expanding the tournament to as many as 96 teams and engulfing the NIT, but the committee unanimously passed the 68-team proposal instead.

At the same time, the NCAA announced a new 14-year, $10.8 billion TV deal with CBS and TBS. The deal will ensure that, for the first time, every tournament game will be broadcast live, with four stations –CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV—teaming up to handle the first and second rounds. CBS will keep the Final Four and national title game through 2015, and after that will have to split them with TBS. (Read more Final Four stories.)

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