From the New York Times the NCAA will have to decide within the next year whether they want to stay in their current deal with CBS, a deal that will be worth about $545 million per year, or test the waters to find a bigger deal.
The NCAA and CBS struck a deal in 1999 worth $6 billion for the broadcast rights to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The deal runs through 2013, but the NCAA has an option of cutting out within the next year.
Options like the N.C.A.A.’s exist to permit leagues or other sports organizations to capitalize on better financial markets than existed when a deal was signed.
It’s been nine years since the contract was signed, and in better economic times the NCAA could most likely easily get more than the current deal, but it’s not so cut and dry right now. If they opt out of the deal they run the risk of burning their bridges with CBS and not being able to find a bigger deal elsewhere.
It will be interesting to watch this develop and see how risky the NCAA is.