CBS Sports and Apple offer 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on the iTunes Music Store

CBS Sports and Apple today announced they will bring the 2006 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship distributed by CBS Corporation’s College Sports TV (CSTV) to the iTunes Music Store. For the first time ever, college basketball fans can pay $1.99 per game for condensed versions of all the 2006 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball championship games. Customers can also choose the new “Season Pass” feature on iTunes for $19.99, and receive condensed versions of all 63 games the day after they are played for viewing on a computer or iPod. Full-length versions of this year’s semifinals and championship game, as well as compilations of buzzer beaters, upsets and memorable championship games from past NCAA Tournaments will also be available on iTunes.

The new “Season Pass” feature on iTunes is the easiest way to purchase the entire 2006 NCAA Tournament. Every game will automatically be placed in a customer’s download queue the day after it airs on CBS. Customers will be notified about new game highlights as they become available via email, and can be downloaded once they log into iTunes.

In its first major deal since being acquired by CBS, and as a part of the Company’s strategy to enhance its relationship with college sports fans, CSTV, in partnership with CBS Sports, will produce the condensed versions of CBS Sports’ broadcasts. CSTV also will provide expert analysis and commentary on each game of the package, as well as utilize its vast collection of 250 college sports web sites to market the service to sports fans all over the country.

“While CBS Sports’ coverage of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship remains the centerpiece of the March Madness experience, iTunes is a great way for viewers to catch games they miss or to keep their favorite moments for viewing on their iPod,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports in the press release. “This was how CBS envisioned the future when we made the bundled rights deal with the NCAA in 2003.”

“We’re thrilled to bring all of the 2006 NCAA Tournament action to college basketball fans on iTunes,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes in the press release. “With the new ‘Season Pass’ feature, fans can purchase and view highlights from every tournament game the day after it airs for just $1.99 per game or $19.99 for the whole tournament.”

“Having the ability to watch condensed versions of every tournament game on your iPod brings a unique, new dimension to the NCAA March Madness experience,” said Brian Bedol, president and CEO of CSTV in the press release. “The ability to watch ‘games-to-go’ that fans otherwise might have missed as their favorite teams travel down the Road to the Final Four is a great example of how CSTV continues to innovate and improve the college sports fan’s experience.”

The new highlight packages will feature condensed versions of all the games of the 2006 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, as well as full-length versions of the National Semifinals and Championship Game. In addition, Thought Equity, in conjunction with CSTV, is producing compilations of buzzer beaters, upsets and memorable championship games, which are included in classic game packages. Among those games are Duke’s win over Kentucky in 1992 on Christian Laettner’s last-second shot in the regional final; Jim Valvano’s North Carolina State team that shocked Houston to win the 1983 NCAA Championship; North Carolina’s victory over Georgetown from Michael Jordan’s game-winning basket in 1982 to win the championship title; and Syracuse’s freshman sensation Carmelo Anthony leading his team over Kansas to its first ever championship title in 2003.

With Apple’s legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as integrated video and Podcasting support, iMix playlist sharing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights, the iTunes Music Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and videos online. The iTunes Music Store features a selection of over 3,500 music videos, Pixar and Disney short films, a variety of hit TV shows, and more than two million songs from the major music companies and over 1,000 independent labels.

iTunes 6 for Mac and Windows includes the iTunes Music Store and is available as a free download. Purchase and download of songs and videos from the iTunes Music Store requires a valid credit card with a billing address in the country of purchase. Television shows are available in the U.S. only, and video availability varies by country. Television shows are $1.99 (US) per episode, and music videos and short films are $1.99 (US) each.

Click here to visit Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

MacDailyNews Take: Go Orange (and Apple, too, of course)! Hopefully this deal cracks open the door on CBS Television. Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Late Show with David Letterman, 700 versions of CSI, etc. would be welcome additions to Apple’s iTunes Store.

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23 Comments

  1. Sports on iTunes won’t get me through the buying DOOR until they are live streams and not edited highlights. I don’t really want to see a game a day after it happened…much less see someone else’s opinion of what was important.

    I know this is totally putting iTunes at odds with broadcasters…but it is only a matter of time. I have already canceled my cable subscription…I can OWN law & order, the daily show, lost, Battlestar Galactica, and still save money over cable!

  2. I’m just the opposite “me.” Live streaming of games does little for me, because that is what cable or satellite are good at. If I want to see the entire game, I can also Tivo it. But this package is perfect for me, someone who wants more than the ESPN highlights, but less than the everything on every game. Depending on who the analysts are, they can actually contribute to the enjoyment of the game. So, it’s a good thing “to each their own.” I think this is an outstanding deal for the iTMS.

  3. This will be huge. Many will want to buy a copy of their favorite team’s win. The option to buy the full game should be available. Immediate gratification is so much fun — too bad you will have to wait a day to download.

    Go Hawkeyes.

  4. MacDailyNews Take: Go Orange (and Apple, too, of course)! Hopefully this deal cracks open the door on CBS Television. Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Late Show with David Letterman, 700 versions of CSI, etc. would be welcome additions to Apple’s iTunes Store.

    Uh, this would probably be a good time to mention that.. really.. nothing is on CBS.

  5. This is huge indeed. Sports fans tend to be fanatics about their teams — BTW, I am not one of them, a sports fanatic that is. So having games available for reviewing and discussing at the water cooler will sell iPods in droves. I am a fanatic about my AAPL holdings and this is wonderful news.

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