AT&T, Verizon Wireless To Broadcast NCAA Tournament Coverage

If there’s an event that has a chance of getting mobile subscribers to sign up for a TV service, it would seem to be the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, with its addictive nature and games falling smack in the middle of the workday. AT&T (NYSE: T) said today it has exclusive rights to broadcast all 63 games of the tournament. In addition, AT&T is offering two free months of the service (typically $15/month) to new subscribers, and a discount on the LG (SEO: 066570) Vu to make it $50 after mail-in rebate. Once the tournament ends, a subscriber will have no contractual obligation to continue with the service (as long as they call to cancel the service before the trial expires).

AT&T Mobile TV is powered by FLO TV, a technology built and operated by Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM). In addition to games, coverage will include highlights, score recaps and analysis from CBS (NYSE: CBS) Sports. Of course, highlights and coverage will be found elsewhere, so this won’t exactly be luring away any iPhone users. CBS is offering iPhone users an app with live streaming video and audio of all 63 games for $4.99. Of course, the Qualcomm broadcast service has its bonuses because it isn’t affected by a slow network, whereas the iPhone app is optimized for Wi-Fi. Release.

UPDATE: This is a lot less interesting now that I’ve found out that AT&T doesn’t have the exclusive rights to NCAA coverage — just exclusive rights to ALL 63 games. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wirelsss’ V Cast TV service will still have access to the games being showed on CBS Mobile. This weekend that means V Cast Mobile TV subscribers will have access to 16 games, whereas AT&T Mobile TV subs will have access to 48 games.

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