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CBS is contractually obligated to share its business results with the NCAA each year, and the network has showed that it didn’t turn a profit on the tournament this year, sources said. “It’s pretty clear that an over-the-air network can’t afford this event by itself,” said one executive with knowledge of the discussions.
By teaming with Turner, CBS would have a partner that would help pay that rights fee, which isn’t expected to grow much beyond the current deal. If the NCAA goes that route, the Final Four would alternate from over-the-air to cable each year.