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Covington Advises Turner Broadcasting on $10.8B NCAA Deal

April 23, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC, April 23, 2010 — The NCAA has announced a new 14-year television and new media rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to present the Division I Men's Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 through 2024 for total rights fees of approximately $10.8 billion. As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks beginning in 2011 – a first for the 73-year-old championship. Additionally, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting have been licensed and will collaborate on the NCAA's corporate marketing program. Covington & Burling LLP advised Turner Broadcasting on the transaction, with corporate partner Peter Zern leading the effort.

Turner Broadcasting, a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

Covington’s sports transactions group, an international leader in sports media, M&A and finance, is led in the US by partners Bruce Wilson, Doug Gibson and Peter Zern. Recent additions to the group include Paul Tagliabue, who rejoined Covington as senior of counsel following 17 years as the Commissioner of the National Football League.

Matters handled by Covington and announced over the last two months include:

  • representing the NFL in its groundbreaking sponsorship and content deal with Verizon Wireless, announced in March;
  • representing the NFL in the issuance of $835 million in senior secured term notes, announced this month;
  • representing the Independent Advisory Committee to the United States Olympic Committee, chaired by Paul Tagliabue, in its assessment of the board structure and operations model of the USOC, with the Committee’s report being issued in late March; and
  • representing the National Hockey League in the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning to Jeffrey Vinik, announced in March.

Among its many ongoing sports representations, Covington is currently acting for Chris Cohan and Golden State Warriors LLC in connection with the proposed sale of the Golden State Warriors NBA franchise.

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