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NCAA and ESPN Drop a $920M Bomb: Women's March Madness in the Mix!

NCAA and ESPN Drop a $920M Bomb: Women's March Madness in the Mix!

NCAA and ESPN just dropped the mic with a $920 million bomb, rewriting the playbook for women's sports. This ain't just a deal; it's a historic shift that's gonna leave its mark on the game. Women's March Madness is part of the action, and we're all in for the ride. Bigger, better, historic – the game just levelled up!

 

Hold onto your hats, sports fans! The NCAA and ESPN just unleashed a jaw-dropping announcement: an eight-year, $920 million extension for their media rights party, featuring a record 40 NCAA championships. And yeah, you heard it right – women's March Madness is part of the deal. 

Negotiated by Endeavor’s IMG and WME Sports, this mega-deal kicks off in September, showering an average of $115 million per year. But here's the kicker – 57% of that check goes straight to women's March Madness, making it the real MVP. The powers-that-be decided bundling was the "best deal for everybody," tossing in broadcasting rights for some less popular sports to sweeten the pot.

This ain't your grandpa's sports deal. Compared to the old 14-year bundle worth $476 million, this one's a threefold upgrade! We're talking serious cash now. ESPN's initial 2003 deal, which included women's March Madness, feels like ancient history at a mere $200 million for 21 championships over 11 years. The game has evolved, and so has the paycheck.

Now, here's where it gets spicy. Fans were crossing their fingers for a solo act by women's March Madness in 2024, given its soaring popularity and an estimated annual value of $81 million to $112 million. But hey, we got a bundle bonanza instead. The upside? It could mean a payday for Women's Basketball players, sharing in the glory and the dollars. Plus, with ESPN's top-notch production and love for storytelling, the championship's gonna be a showstopper.

Fast forward to 2032, and both men's and women's March Madness will be dropping into the media rights scene at the same time. Imagine the hype! This historic move is like setting the stage for women's college basketball to hit the coveted $100 million mark. It's more than a deal – it's a game-changer for the ladies on the court.

NCAA President Charlie Baker sums it up saying, "It's a bundle, but it's a bigger bundle and it's a bigger bundle that will be much better." Big moves, big bundles, big dreams – that's the vibe.

As we unpack this deal, it's worth asking if bundling women's March Madness is the slam dunk move for the game's growth. FIFA had its growing pains when it unbundled the 2023 Women's World Cup media rights, but it turned out to be a win for sponsors. The game's evolving, and we're all waiting to see how it plays out.

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