Turner Sports Secures Media Rights to Coaches vs. Cancer Classic

Turner Sports has secured the exclusive broadcast and media rights to one of college basketball’s preeminent early-season showcase events – the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic – beginning in November, 2012.

truTV will exclusively televise the semifinals, consolation, and finals of The Classic, which is conducted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Additionally, as part of the agreement, Turner Sports will oversee national sponsorships sales for the event.

Throughout the 16-year history of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, participating teams typically feature numerous storied basketball programs, including previous champions Pittsburgh (2010), Syracuse (2009), Duke (2008), Maryland (2007), Memphis (2006), and Florida (2005). The 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic will be one of the first sports events to take place at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

The Classic benefits Coaches vs. Cancer, a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and NABC that empowers coaches, their teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

“We are pleased to enter into a relationship with the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society for this great event,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System. “The exclusive media rights to the Classic further our commitment to providing quality sports programming on truTV that matters to our audience, advertisers and distribution partners.  In addition to televising this preeminent early-season college basketball event, Turner will utilize a number of its resources to further enhance the exposure and mission of Coaches vs. Cancer with our audience.”

Turner’s NCAA portfolio includes exclusive broadcast rights, along with partner CBS Sports, to air the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship.  This year marked the first time tournament games aired live in their entirety across four networks: Turner’s TBS, TNT, and truTV, and CBS, resulting in the most-watched NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship since 2005, averaging 10.2 million total viewers.

The 2011 tournament tipped off with the NCAA FIRST FOUR that aired exclusively on truTV.  The network also aired some of the tournament’s most-exciting second and third round games, including Marquette’s upset win over Syracuse.

“Teaming with Turner Sports, coupled with the move to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, greatly enhances the commitment of college basketball coaches and everyone in the college basketball community in the fight against cancer,” said NABC vice president Phil Martelli, head coach at St. Joseph’s University and national chair of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council. “The addition of such outstanding resources helps make the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic a perfect start for another exciting college basketball season while helping raise awareness and funds to fight cancer.”

Established in 1995, the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic is conducted by the NABC and is a collaborative effort with the American Cancer Society to benefit cancer research; prevention and early detection initiatives; and vital programs and services that benefit cancer patients, their families, and caregivers.

“We are delighted to partner with Turner Sports and truTV for live, national telecast coverage of this outstanding event. The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic always spotlights the best in college basketball action as well as coaches who are committed to the promotion of healthy lifestyles and to helping create a world with less cancer and more birthdays,” said Stephen L. Swanson, 2011 national volunteer chair, American Cancer Society Board of Directors. “Turner Sports’ broad television footprint and its commitment to college basketball provide an excellent awareness platform for coaches to demonstrate their commitment to the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission, and a great national exposure opportunity for their teams.”

“We are thrilled that such a prestigious college basketball event as the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic will be taking the court at the Barclays Center of Brooklyn,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. “College basketball has a rich history in Brooklyn and many of the greatest players of all-time have called the borough home. We plan to make the Barclays Center an integral venue for major college basketball on the East Coast and to bring the best of sports and entertainment back to Brooklyn.  Most importantly, we are pleased to be supporting such a significant initiative by the NABC and the American Cancer Society and laud them for their great work.”

The Classic will be managed by Blue Ridge Sports and Entertainment, beginning in 2012. Coaches vs. Cancer leverages the personal experiences, community leadership, and professional excellence of basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs. Coaches vs. Cancer has raised nearly $75 million since its inception to support the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission.

Turner’s NCAA portfolio also includes day-to-day oversight of March Madness on Demand (MMOD), one of the most popular online properties, and management of NCAA Digital, which includes NCAA.com and its mobile assets. March Madness on Demand (MMOD) also saw similar success during the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship delivering 13.7 million total hours of streaming videos online and on iPad and iPhone apps, along with 52 million visits across the MMOD broadband and mobile platforms.

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