CBS Considered Paying ESPN to Take Tourney

CBS Considered Paying ESPN to Take Tourney

An extraordinary idea was broached last fall when CBS was trying to shave the huge losses it anticipated over the remaining years of its contract to televise the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament.

CBS talked with ESPN about paying it to take the 2010 to 2013 tournaments off its hands, according to four executives with direct knowledge of the talks who were not authorized or willing to speak publicly.

The idea, initiated at the top levels of both news-media companies, was seriously considered but eventually discarded by Leslie Moonves, CBS’s chief executive; Robert A. Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ESPN’s parent; and George W. Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN.


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