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CBS & Time Warner Extend NCAA Deal to Air March Madness

Good news for lovers of “March Madness” as CBS Corporation CBS and Time Warner Inc.’s. TWX Turner Broadcasting have extended their rights to air The National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA") Men's Division I Basketball Tournament through 2032. The deal is valued at $8.8 billion.

In Apr 2010, the NCAA entered into a $10.8 billion deal involving television, the Internet and wireless rights with both CBS and Turner Broadcasting System. The agreement, effective 2011, runs through 2024.

Given the massive popularity of the event, CBS Corp. and Time Warner investors are likely to enjoy solid returns. With more viewership and higher advertising revenues, both companies are poised for top-line growth. In the past, both have enjoyed high television ratings and advertising revenues from the event.

However, we believe there are few concerns for both companies. With the increase in sports rights fees, profits may get hampered if cord-cutting increases. If cord-cutting rises, it will not only hurt the main source of revenue but will also affect advertising revenue.

Secondly, advertising depends upon the health of the economy, and it has been seen that the demand for advertising drops during recession. As such, the upfront advertising purchases may get canceled and the companies will be under tremendous pressure to lower the pricing.

Recently, the NCAA men’s college basketball championship saw a nail-biting finish, wherein Villanova won over North Carolina, with a score of 77-74. The total number of viewers came in at nearly 17.8 million, marking a steep plunge of 37% from last season's Duke-Wisconsin match that tuned in roughly 28.3 million viewers, representing the biggest spectator strength in almost two decades. Further, the number of viewers for the 2016 NCAA championship game dropped about 16% from the UConn-Kentucky final in 2014.

For now, both companies are pretty confident that the deal will be profitable, going forward.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Both CBS and Time Warner carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks worth considering in the sector include AMC Networks Inc. AMCX and Cumulus Media Inc. CMLS. Both companies sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
TIME WARNER INC (TWX): Free Stock Analysis Report
CBS CORP (CBS): Free Stock Analysis Report
CUMULUS MEDIA (CMLS): Free Stock Analysis Report
AMC NETWORKS- A (AMCX): Free Stock Analysis Report
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