Men's college basketball on television
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Men's college basketball on television includes the broadcasting of college basketball games, as well as pre- and post-game reports, analysis, and human-interest stories. Within the United States, the college version of basketball annually garners high television ratings.
Not all games are televised. Coverage is dependent on negotiations between the broadcaster and the college basketball conference or team. In general, major programs will be televised more often than smaller programs. The televised games may change from year-to-year depending on which teams are having a strong season, although some traditional rivalry games are broadcast each year. Major match-ups between top-ranked teams or major rivals are often broadcast nationally. Some games are traditionally associated with a specific event or holiday, and viewing the game itself can become a holiday tradition for fans.
College basketball was first televised during the "experimental" era of television's broadcasting history, when W2XBS broadcast a men's basketball doubleheader from Madison Square Garden in New York City on February 28, 1940. Fordham University and the University of Pittsburgh played in the first game, and New York University played Georgetown University in the second game.
In 1968, the "Game of the Century", played between UCLA and Houston, was syndicated by the TVS Television Network, attracting a significant television audience. The game is widely cited as a catalyst for the explosion and expansion of the televised college basketball landscape.
In addition, some regional syndicators broadcast games on over the air television. Most notably, Raycom Sports syndicate their games to broadcast stations. ESPN Plus, which was a syndication unit of ESPN, also previously syndicated basketball games from various conferences to stations until its 2014 closure in the wake of Big 12 games moving to the ESPN cable networks, and the inception of the cable-only SEC Network. In 2014, Sinclair Broadcasting launched a new syndication programming service, the American Sports Network, to syndicate basketball games in various areas of the country, including a few NCAA Division II games (beginning in 2016).
Raycom in the early 1990s paid ABC $1.8 million for six weeks of network airtime of 26 regional games. The format allowed Raycom to control the games and sell the advertising.
Regional cable networks have long devoted coverage to one or two conferences. The Pac-12 and Big 12 have had deals with Fox Sports since 1996, which airs games on its regional family of networks.
In 2007, the Big Ten conference was the first to establish its own television network, the Big Ten Network. The Pac-12 Networks debuted in 2012. Two years later, ESPN and the Southeastern Conference launched the SEC Network.
The Big Ten has a similar regional network, with the Big Ten Network having made its debut in August 2007. Texas has their own deal which created the Longhorn Network in fall of 2011. While BYU has BYUtv, it is not a separate deal that created a regional sports network.
College basketball has been a staple for nearly the whole history of ESPN. Scotty Connal, then-vice president of the all-sports network in Bristol, Conn., offered Dick Vitale a position, shortly after being fired from the Detroit Pistons. The coverage of college basketball and the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament increased both college basketball and ESPN's credibility.
By home team
- ACC Network/Raycom Sports: ACC (including the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament)
- American Sports Network: A10, American, Big South, CAA, Conference USA, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, OVC, Patriot, SoCon, Southland, WAC
- CBS/TBS/TNT/TruTV: ACC, American, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC
- ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU: A10, ACC, American, America East, Atlantic Sun, Big 12, Big South, Big Sky, Big Ten, Big West, Conference USA, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, MVC, MW, NEC, OVC, Pac-12, SEC, SoCon, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt, SWAC, WAC, WCC
- Fox/Fox Sports 1: Big East, Big West, Big 12, Pac-12
- Fox Sports Networks: ACC and SEC
- CBS Sports Network: Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Atlantic 10 Conference, American, Northeast Conference and Patriot League
- NBCSN: Atlantic 10 Conference, Colonial Athletic Association (including the Colonial Athletic Association Men's Basketball Tournament), Ivy League, Mountain West Conference
- beIN Sports: Conference USA
- Big Ten Network: Big Ten
- BYUtv: BYU, BYU-Hawaii (through 2016–17, after which the school will eliminate intercollegiate athletics), and West Coast Conference
- Longhorn Network: Texas
- Pac-12 Network: Pac-12
- SEC Network: SEC
- AXS TV: Night games for the inaugural Paradise Jam Tournament.
- Root Sports: Big Sky
In 1991, CBS received exclusive rights to the entire tournament for the first time. Previously, ESPN had aired early round games. Beginning in 2011, CBS shared the early tournament rounds with TBS, TNT, and TruTV. The Final Four will alternate between CBS and TBS starting in 2016.
- American Sportscasters Online: Sportscasting Firsts
- 1940 College Basketball Recap on Infoplease
- The Georgetown Basketball History Project: Prepared For Life
- Sandomir, Richard (January 31, 1992). "TV SPORTS; Syndicator Gives ABC Easy Fast Break on Profit". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- Dick Vitale's love for college basketball is genuine 03/04/02
- Gaudiosi, John, Fox Sports to Stream March Madness Basketball in Virtual Reality, retrieved 17 March 2016
- Vecsey, George (March 5, 1995). "Sports of The Times; The March Madness Has Already Begun". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- Lapointe, Joe (March 15, 1991). "COLLEGE BASKETBALL: N.C.A.A. TOURNAMENT; Tip-Offs as Daytime Drama on CBS". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.