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CBS and Apple to deliver NCAA Tournament via iTunes

CBS Sports and Apple today announced they will bring the 2006 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship distributed by CBS Corporation\'s College Sports TV to the iTunes Music Store.

For the first time ever, college basketball fans can pay $1.99 per game for condensed versions of all the 2006 NCAA Men\'s Division I Basketball championship games, the companies said. Customers can also choose the new \"Season Pass\" feature on iTunes for $19.99, and receive condensed versions of all 63 games the day after they are played for viewing on a computer or iPod.

Full-length versions of this year\'s semifinals and championship game, as well as compilations of buzzer beaters, upsets and memorable championship games from past NCAA Tournaments will also be available on iTunes.

The new \"Season Pass\" feature on iTunes is an easy way to purchase the entire 2006 NCAA Tournament, automatically placing every game in a customer\'s download queue the day after it airs on CBS. Customers will be notified about new game highlights as they become available via email, and can be downloaded once they log into iTunes.

In its first major deal since being acquired by CBS, and as a part of the company\'s strategy to enhance its relationship with college sports fans, CSTV, in partnership with CBS Sports, will produce the condensed versions of CBS Sports\' broadcasts. CSTV will also provide expert analysis and commentary on each game of the package, as well as utilize its vast collection of 250 college sports web sites to market the service to sports fans all over the country.

\"While CBS Sports\' coverage of the NCAA Men\'s Division I Basketball Championship remains the centerpiece of the March Madness experience, iTunes is a great way for viewers to catch games they miss or to keep their favorite moments for viewing on their iPod,\" said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports. \"This was how CBS envisioned the future when we made the bundled rights deal with the NCAA in 2003.\"

\"We\'re thrilled to bring all of the 2006 NCAA Tournament action to college basketball fans on iTunes,\" said Eddy Cue, Apple\'s vice president of iTunes. \"With the new \'Season Pass\' feature, fans can purchase and view highlights from every tournament game the day after it airs for just $1.99 per game or $19.99 for the whole tournament.\"

A new highlight packages will feature condensed versions of all the games of the 2006 NCAA Men\'s Division I Basketball Championship, as well as full-length versions of the National Semifinals and Championship Game. In addition, Thought Equity, in conjunction with CSTV, is producing compilations of buzzer beaters, upsets and memorable championship games, which are included in classic game packages.

Among those memorable games are Duke\'s win over Kentucky in 1992 on Christian Laettner\'s last-second shot in the regional final; Jim Valvano\'s North Carolina State team that shocked Houston to win the 1983 NCAA Championship; North Carolina\'s victory over Georgetown from Michael Jordan\'s game-winning basket in 1982 to win the championship title; and Syracuse\'s freshman sensation Carmelo Anthony leading his team over Kansas to its first ever championship title in 2003.

The 2006 Men\'s Division I NCAA Basketball Tournament begins this evening as Monmouth clashes with Hampton in the opening-round game for a chance to take on No. 1 seed Villanova this Friday. The first round of the tournament officially kicks-off on Thursday.