For those looking to listen to audio coverage of the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament this year, there’s a new mult-year deal out there between Learfield and Westwood One to make Westwood One’s national coverage available in Learfield’s free The Varsity Network app. That deal will also apply to Westwood One coverage of other NCAA championships. Here’s more on that from a release:
The Varsity Network app – created for college sports fans by LEARFIELD company SIDEARM Sports – will be home to live audio streams of Cumulus Media’s (NSDQ: CMLS) Westwood One’s coverage of March Madness. Under the terms of a multi-year agreement between LEARFIELD and Westwood One, all NCAA Championships broadcast by Westwood One will be available on The Varsity Network.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide these live championship streams of Westwood One’s broadcasts as part of The Varsity Network,” stated Rick Barakat, executive vice president and managing director for LEARFIELD’s Media & Partnerships Group. “When we created this app, it was with the idea of providing fans with live and on-demand access to college content they cannot find anywhere else – and providing free audio to all NCAA Championships and every men’s March Madness game takes our content delivery for college sports fans to another level.”
The Varsity Network will feature an exclusive and innovative listening experience called the Varsity Multicast, that will allow fans to listen to all Westwood One national radio broadcasts of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
“Our radio broadcasts have been a staple of the NCAA Tournament for 40 years,” noted Bruce Gilbert, Senior Vice President, Sports, Content and Audience, Cumulus Media | Westwood One, which has broadcast every NCAA Men’s Tournament since 1982. “We’re thrilled to give fans the ability to hear every exciting play of an event that annually captivates fans across the nation.”
As per that release, the The Varsity Network app will also now carry Westwood One national coverage of other NCAA championships, including the Division I Men’s and Women’s College World Series, the Division I Men’s and Women’s Frozen Four, and the Division I Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse semifinals and championships.
It’s certainly interesting to see Learfield and Westwood One working together this way. Those brands have been key to college sports broadcasting over the last decades, on local and national levels respectively. And it’s notable to see them partner up for a new initiative like this, and to see them indicate that this will be a multi-year deal. It seems that these Westwood One broadcasts will be available through Learfield’s The Varsity Network for at least the next few years.