CBS ekes profit from B-ball

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The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is a money-maker for CBS, despite escalating rights fees built in the deal, according to CBS Sports President Sean McManus. McManus says CBS will see a slight profit over its $250 million cost on the tournament this year. But he concedes that profitability is a concern as rights fees jump to $545 million in 2003 on a pact running through 2013. CBS is determined to "make a dollar on every sports deal," says McManus, even though it was difficult to sell spots in this year's weak ad market (see story, page 35). McManus also quashed talk that some of the early-round games will move to TNN, another Viacom network, in the future. Exclusivity is important to CBS and its affiliates, he says.

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