NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The NCAA announced Thursday a $6-billion, 11-year contract with CBS Sports that will expand the network's exclusive right to televise the NCAA Men's basketball tournament.
The new deal, one of the largest in U.S. sports history, builds on CBS's existing $1.725 billion, 7-year deal that runs until 2002. CBS has had the TV rights to the Division I tournament since 1982, and the new pact will hold through 2014.
The far-reaching pact also offers CBS rights to games content on the Internet, and merchandising rights for tournament-related products.
"This is the first sports deal in history to extend beyond our traditional platforms into the world of new media," said Leslie Moonves, CBS Television president and chief executive officer. "The future of our core business demands that we continue to bring blockbuster events to major audiences our advertisers want to reach, promoting those events across the broadest possible media platforms."
At about $545 million per year, the contract is considerably higher than expectations for about $400 million per year.
CBS (CBS), which was left out of last week's NASCAR auto racing deal, topped rival bids from Disney (DIS)'s ABC and ESPN, and Fox - a unit of Fox Entertainment Group (FOX).
Shares of CBS rose 1-1/4 to 55 Thursday.
-- from staff and wire reports