College Basketball on CBS
|College Basketball on CBS|
Logo used since 2006
|Created by||CBS Sports|
|Starring||See List of College Basketball on CBS personalities|
|Theme music composer||Bob Christianson|
|Ending theme||"One Shining Moment"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||120 minutes +|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original run||November 28, 1981– present|
College Basketball on CBS presented by State Farm (usually referred to on air as the Road to the Final Four) is a presentation of men's NCAA Division I basketball games on CBS. In 1982, CBS Sports obtained broadcast television rights to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship from NBC (who had aired it since 1969).
For their inaugural season, CBS had to scramble to arrange a regular season schedule as NBC still held exclusive rights to certain conferences. CBS also signed Billy Packer away from NBC to be its top analyst (teaming with play-by-play man Gary Bender and later Brent Musburger and Jim Nantz). Packer also played a key role in helping CBS put together its schedule. In the 1981–82 season, CBS did however, happen to obtain contracts with the Metro and Missouri Valley Conferences. During the 1982 tournament, CBS introduced 11:30 games on Thursday and Friday nights of for the first two weekends. CBS also aired an NBA game in the noon timeslot on Sunday, March 14 while only showing a doubleheader of NCAA games.
NFL on CBS broadcaster Tom Brookshier became the subject of controversy because of a remark he made during a Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints game broadcast on December 11, 1983. After a program note for an upcoming telecast of an NCAA men's basketball game involving the University of Louisville, Brookshier said that the players on the Louisville team had "a collective I.Q. of about 40". This resulted in Neal Pilson, then president of CBS Sports, apologizing to Louisville school officials and later suspending Brookshier for the last weekend of the NFL's regular season. Louisville's athletic director, Bill Olsen, felt that the remark was racist, since Louisville's starting five were all African American. Brookshier later apologized, calling his remark "stupid" and "dumb", but was angered over CBS' reaction, saying "I'm not about to be judged on one comment." He added, "I've done a lot of things for charity. Now my own network is bailing out on me and taking me off the air. After 20 years at CBS, I deserve better than this." The apology was accepted by the university, as its president, Donald Swain, invited Brookshier to be the featured speaker at the school's annual football kickoff luncheon in Clarksville, Indiana on August 2, 1984. Brookshier was reinstated in CBS's announcing lineup for the 1984 season, continuing as a network commentator through 1987.
For the 1984 tournament, CBS expanded its coverage on the first Sunday to a tripleheader. The following season marked the first year that CBS aired a regional semifinal tournament doubleheader, leaving ESPN with only one live game each of these nights. 1987 marked the first year that CBS used the song "One Shining Moment" for its tournament epilogue.
For the 1990 tournament, CBS expanded its coverage on the first Saturday to show a quadrupleheader. This particular tournament also marked Brent Musburger's last assignment for CBS. Although Musburger was fired on April Fools Day (Sunday during Final Four weekend), he still did play-by-play for the championship game. Musburger had done play-by-play (although he worked in the studio for the first weekends) for CBS' coverage of the Final Four since 1985.
In the 1990–91 season, CBS' February 10 broadcast of a game between UNLV and Arkansas (#1 vs #2 in the nation at the time, respectively) drew the highest rating for a regular season college basketball game since 1985.
In 1991, CBS assumed responsibility for covering all games of the NCAA tournament, with the exception of the single Tuesday night "play-in" game. (The play-in game – between teams ranked 64 & 65 – is televised by ESPN, except for the first one, which was aired on then-CBS owned TNN, and used CBS graphics and announcers.) For the evening sessions in the first round, CBS only came on the air at 7:30 p.m. for basketball in the regions which got a 7:30 game. Otherwise, most of the country was "in the dark" until 8 p.m. 1991 was also the first year that the Saturday regional finals started at 3:30 p.m.
In 1993, CBS adopted their current theme, which has been used in variations ever since (the first update coming in 2003).
The 1995 tournament was the first year that CBS moved the Sunday regional finals to 2:30 p.m. During the 1995–96 season, CBS used a "wheel" concept on selected days. In other words, they used a set of games with start times usually staggered by one hour. For example, CBS might have a game starting at 2 p.m., another one at 3 p.m., and a third one at 4 pm. Some areas of the country would see the 2 p.m. game, then join the middle game in progress around 4 p.m. (likely seeing the second half only), and then join the late game in progress around 5 pm. Other areas might see the first half of the 2 p.m. game, then see the entire 3 p.m. game and then join the late game in progress. CBS would periodically use this concept the next few seasons as well. It would influence how the 2011 tournament was conducted in terms of start times, except now four different networks would be airing games.
With the 1998 tournament, CBS started using the Jim Nantz-Billy Packer team to call games the first weekend. The previous several years, Nantz worked the studio on the first weekend (as was the case with his predecessor, Brent Musburger) while Packer called games with various partners.
The Final Four has been broadcast in HDTV since 1999. From 2000 to 2004, only one first/second round site and one regional site were designated as HDTV sites. In 2005, all regional games were broadcast in HDTV, and four first and second round sites were designated for HDTV coverage. Local stations broadcasting in both digital and analog had the option of airing separate games on their HD and SD channels, to take advantage of the available high definition coverage.
In 2001, CBS assigned the team of Jim Nantz and Billy Packer to a Thursday/Saturday tournament regional for the first time ever. The following year had CBS broadcast the Saturday second round quadrupleheader at 1 p.m. and the Final Four to 6 p.m. for the first time.
On March 20 and 21, 2003, CBS provided Iraq War coverage during the afternoon sessions. As a result, ESPN carried the tournament games using CBS announcers. This also led CBS to expand to a quadrupleheader on Sunday March 23. Also in 2003, CBS struck a deal with Yahoo! to offer live streaming of the first three rounds of games under its Yahoo! Platinum service, for $16.95 a month.
For 2004, CBS assigned Jim Nantz and Billy Packer to a Thursday-Saturday regional for the third time in four years. This was also the only year that team of Nantz and Packer worked Thursday-Saturday tournament games on each of the first two weekends. Also 2004, CBS sold access to March Madness On Demand for $9.95, which provided games not otherwise shown on broadcast television. The service was free for AOL subscribers. In 2005, the service charged $19.95 but offered enhanced coverage of pregame and postgame interviews and press conferences.
In 2006, March Madness On Demand was available free of charge, but dropped the coverage of interviews and press conferences. The service was profitable and set a record for simultaneous online streams at 268,000. March Madness On Demand has been available free to online users in all subsequent years.
In addition, CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) broadcast two "late early" games that would not otherwise be broadcast nationally. These were the second games in the daytime session in the Pacific Time Zone, to avoid starting games before 10 a.m. These games are also available via March Madness on Demand and on CBS affiliates in the market areas of the team playing. In most markets, stations break between 5 and 7 p.m. EDT for regular late afternoon programming, which consists of local news and the CBS Evening News, plus other syndicated programming such as The Oprah Winfrey Show. In areas where The Price is Right was pre-empted for basketball, the game show aired in this window. CBS-CS also broadcast the official pregame and postgame shows and press conferences from the teams involved.
Beginning in 2007, all games in the tournament (including all first and second round games) were available in high definition, and local stations were required to air the same game on both their analog and digital channels. However, due to satellite limitations, first round "constant" feeds were only available in standard definition. Some digital television stations choose not to participate in HDTV broadcasts of the first and second rounds and the regional semifinals, and split their signal into digital subchannels to show all games going on simultaneously. Most notably, WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina has split its digital signal four ways since 2000 to show all of the games. In 2007, CBS broadcast all games from each regional site in HDTV, however, due to limitations in the CBS broadcast center, only the "Flex" feeds were in HD, constant feeds were in SD. Upgrades at the CBS broadcast center allowed all feeds, flex and constant, to be in HD for the 2008 tournament.
For the 2008 tournament, CBS moved the Saturday regional final doubleheader to 6:30 p.m. 2008 also marked the last NCAA tournament to be broadcast by Billy Packer (as he would be replaced by Clark Kellogg), a run that started in 1974.
Despite CBS' contract to carry the tournament until 2013, the NCAA had the option of ending the agreement after the 2010 championship. This led to speculation that ESPN would snag the rights to future tournament games However, on April 22, 2010, the NCAA signed a 14-year agreement with CBS and Turner Broadcasting System worth more than $10.8 billion, allowing CBS to continue airing the entire regional finals through the national championship, with CBS and Turner splitting coverage of earlier rounds in the now 68-team field. After 2015, the regional finals, Final Four and national championship will alternate between CBS and TBS.
CBS receives the same number of "windows," or time slots, for its tournament coverage as in previous years. However, all games will now be nationally – rather than regionally – televised. Both games from a particular section and site are shown back-to-back on the same network each day, except for the second session on March 20, 2011, which was split between CBS and TruTV so that CBS could show 60 Minutes at its regular time, or as close to it as possible. CBS also keeps coverage of the Division II final, which is part of the larger contract for this tourney.
Tournament feed overview
Until 2010, CBS broadcast the remaining 63 games of the NCAA tournament proper. Most areas saw only eight of 32 first round games, seven second round games, and four regional semifinal games (out of the possible 56 games during these rounds). Coverage preempted regular programming on the network, except during a 2 hour window from about 5 ET until 7 ET when the local affiliates could show programming. The CBS format resulted in far fewer hours of first-round coverage than under the old ESPN format, but allows the games to reach a much larger audience than ESPN is able to reach.
CBS provided three sets of feeds from each venue, known as "constant" "swing" and "flex." Constant feeds remained primarily on a given game, and were used primarily by stations with local interest in a game. Despite its name, a constant feed would occasionally veer away to other games for brief updates, but coverage generally remained with the initial game. Swing feeds tended to stay on games of natural interest, such as teams from local conferences, but would go to other games that are close. On a flex feed, coverage bounced around from one venue to another, depending on action at the various games in progress. If one game was a blowout, coverage would switch to a more competitive game. Flex games had no natural interest for the stations carrying them, allowing the flex game to be the best game in progress. Station feeds were planned in advance and stations had the option of requesting either constant or flex feed for various games. All games on DirecTV's Mega March Madness were the constant feed.
The entire country saw the regional finals, the national semifinals, and the national championship.
As of 2011, CBS airs all of their games nationally. They will air a total of 26 games in 2011 (which does not include the games Turner Sports shows): eight second round games (four games per day), seven third round games (four games the first day and three games on the second due to a showing of 60 Minutes, as previously mentioned), four games in the Sweet Sixteen (two games per day), all of the Elite Eight (four games) and Final Four games (2 games), and the Championship Game.
Each year, CBS broadcasts a number of regular-season match-ups from every major conference in addition to the Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament.
The current theme for CBS' coverage, simply titled "CBS NCAA Basketball Theme", was written by Bob Christianson and has been in use by the network since the 1992–1993 season. While different arrangements have been used over that time, the melody has remained largely the same. The theme has also carried over to TBS, TNT and truTV as part of its tournament coverage partnership with CBS. Although this new theme is different from the CBS version, it is only used for the NCAA Tournament. CBS still uses the theme it has used since 2004 as its main theme for its regular-season coverage.
At the end of CBS' coverage, a highlight reel featuring memorable moments from the tournament is shown, set to the song "One Shining Moment" originally written and performed by David Barrett (1987-1993, 2000-2002), and subsequently covered by Teddy Pendergrass (1994-1999), Luther Vandross (2003-2009, 2011-), and Jennifer Hudson (2010).
- March 29, 1982 In CBS Sports' first-ever broadcast of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game, University of North Carolina, with freshman Michael Jordan, beats Georgetown for the NCAA crown. CBS Sports wins the Outstanding Live Sports Special Emmy Award for its coverage.
- March 7, 1982 For the first time ever, the "NCAA Selection Show" is broadcast live to a national audience by CBS Sports.
- April 14, 1983 In an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game upset, Gary Bender and Billy Packer call North Carolina State's upset of the University of Houston.
- "SPORTS PEOPLE; Brookshier Penalized". The New York Times. December 14, 1983. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- "SPORTS PEOPLE; Louisville Gesture". The New York Times. July 12, 1984. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- "SPORTS PEOPLE; Brookshier's 'Penance'". The New York Times. August 3, 1984. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- "Yahoo unveils Platinum paid service". CNET News.com. Retrieved 2007-03-17.
- NCAA MARCH MADNESS ON DEMAND SPEARHEADS CSTV.COM'S ONLINE COVERAGE :: CSTV.com Features Exclusive Blogs From Coaches Norm Roberts, Steve Fisher And Pat Kennedy, Streaming Video of Classic NCAA Tournament Moments, Exclusive Columns From Matt Doherty, Brian Curtis, Debbie Antonelli, Jerry Palm
- Streamingmedia.com: CBS’s NCAA March Madness On Demand Sets Internet Record For Simultaneous Live Viewing Of An Entertainment Or Sports Event
- CSTV.com: #1 in College Sports – Men's Basketball
- Why we didn’t get Stanford in HDTV (but the rest of the country did) – Morning Buzz
- WRAL Digital Airs Entire NCAA Basketball Tournament
- ESPN to snag the Final Four? Don Surber, Daily Mail
- NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament Expands To 68 Teams; CBS Adds Turner To Television Team (press release via TV by the Numbers)
- CBS NCAA Basketball Theme Made Composer Big Bucks
|NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship television broadcaster