Mega March Madness
Mega March Madness was a pay-per-view out-of-market sports package covering games in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship which was exclusive to DirecTV from 2002 until 2010 and supplemented the coverage from CBS Sports. The charge for the package was a one-time $69 charge per year.
Viewers were able to watch games which did not air on their CBS affiliate, and Mega March Madness also had a multiplex channel allowing all four games to be framed on the same screen. Game coverage still used CBS coverage and announcers, though DirectTV promotional advertising replaced CBS station local breaks and the games were uninterrupted by in-game analysis or a cut-over to a more compelling game like was done on the main CBS broadcasts.
Decline and discontinuation
In many markets however, CBS also provided sub-feeds of games for affiliates to air on digital subchannels or secondary sister stations. Though these games featured regular advertising and analysis and were only aired in standard definition, it was regarded as duplicative and as the stations offered the coverage for free, Mega March Madness was among the lowest-subscribed DirectTV sports packages as many viewers utilized a secondary cable connection or antenna to receive the games without charge, although in latter years CBS only allowed stations coverage of one further game on a digital subchannel to protect the Mega March Madness package. Further development of streaming of all games over video on demand on the Internet cut further into the package's appeal.
After the 2010 tournament, Mega March Madness was discontinued, as the NCAA's new tournament deal with CBS and the networks of Turner Broadcasting System (TBS, TNT, and truTV), called NCAA March Madness, facilitated national coverage of every game on a cable or broadcast channel without cut-aways or staggered scheduling, making the Mega March Madness package superfluous.
- NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament Expands To 68 Teams; CBS Adds Turner To Television Team press release via TV by the Numbers
- Turner Networks To Air 41 March Madness Tournament Games Multichannel News February 10, 2011