CBS Wants Its NCAA Contract Kept Secret

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge at the helm of the antitrust case against the National Collegiate Athletic Association must protect a broadcast contract from public disclosure, CBS said.
     The network filed a motion to intervene Wednesday in the class action brought by current and former student athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association. After a slew of recent settlements, only the antitrust claims led by former UCLA basketball player Edward O’Bannon advanced to a trial that began this week.
     O’Bannon claims that the NCAA forced thousands of student-athletes to sign away rights to their images and cheated them out of their share of television broadcast dollars. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken will decide whether the NCAA must pay athletes for using their images and likeness in television broadcasts.
     CBS noted that the multimedia agreement it and Turner Broadcasting System struck with the NCAA is an exhibit in the case and should be sealed from disclosure during the three-week bench trial.
     “The nonpublic provisions of the Multi-Media Agreement contain competitively sensitive information, including content licensing terms and licensing rights obtained for consideration, that are highly sensitive to CBS,” the network said. “CBS competes with a number of entities to obtain rights to broadcast content, and takes steps to ensure that the Multi-Media Agreement and the highly confidential information therein are not disclosed outside of a group of persons within CBS who have a business reason to know their contents.”
     Competitors and third parties will be able to use knowledge of the redacted terms of the tournament contract – specifically provisions containing broadcaster rights and restrictions, promotional inventory, and definitions of the terms “Broadcaster Multi- Sport Package” and “Broadcaster Platform” – against CBS in future agreements, the network added.
     The NCAA is also trying to keep the contract under wraps, but CBS argued that its interests are different and “NCAA will not ‘undoubtedly’ make all of CBS’ arguments.”
     “CBS operates in a different market than does the NCAA. The nature of CBS’ business means it must take into account the potential effects of disclosure of confidential information in a manner completely separate and apart from the NCAA,” the network’s motion states. “CBS must consider different types of potential business partners and competitors than the NCAA. This unique knowledge and perspective on CBS’ own competitive concerns brings new elements to the proceeding that warrants intervention.”

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