NCAA March Madness (CBS/Turner)
|NCAA March Madness (CBS/TBS/TNT/TruTV/CBS Sports Network)|
|Genre||College basketball telecasts|
|Opening theme||"CBS College Basketball Theme" (main theme, 2011–present)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|Location(s)||Various NCAA tournament sites (game telecasts)
CBS Broadcast Center, New York City, New York
Turner Sports Studios, Atlanta, Georgia (pregame and postgame shows)
|Running time||120 minutes or until game ends|
|Production company(s)||CBS Sports
CBS Sports Network (game re-airs)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),
|Original release||March 15, 2011– present|
|Related shows||College Basketball on CBS
NBA on TNT
NCAA March Madness is the branding used for coverage of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament that is jointly produced by CBS Sports, the sports division of the CBS television network, and Turner Sports, the sports division of the Turner Broadcasting System in the United States. Through the agreement between CBS and Turner, which began with the 2011 tournament, games are televised on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV. CBS Sports Network re-aired games from all networks.
Initially, CBS continued to provide coverage during most rounds, with the three Turner channels covering much of the early rounds up to the Sweet Sixteen. Starting in 2016, the regional finals, Final Four and national championship game began to alternate between CBS and TBS. TBS holds the rights to the final two rounds in even numbered years, with CBS getting the games in odd numbered years.
This joint tournament coverage should be distinguished from CBS's regular-season coverage, which it produces independently through its sports division. Turner does not currently cover regular-season college basketball games. However, games broadcast on all four networks use a variation of the longtime CBS College Basketball theme music.
Background and coverage breakdown
On April 22, 2010, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reached a 14-year agreement, worth US$10.8 billion, with CBS and the Turner Broadcasting System to receive joint broadcast rights to the Division I men's college basketball tournament. This came after speculation that ESPN would try to obtain the rights to future tournament games. The NCAA took advantage of an opt-out clause in its 1999 deal with CBS (which ran through 2013, even though the NCAA had the option of ending the agreement after the 2010 championship) to announce its intention to sign a new contract with CBS and Turner Sports, a division of Time Warner (which, incidentally, jointly owns The CW with the CBS television network's corporate parent CBS Corporation). The new contract came amid serious consideration by the NCAA of expanding the tournament to 68 teams.
The agreement, which runs through 2032 (extended from 2024 in 2016), stipulates that all games are available nationally. All First Four games air on TruTV. During the first and second rounds, a featured game in each time "window" is broadcast terrestrially on CBS, while all other games are shown on TBS, TNT or TruTV. Sweet 16 (regional semifinal) and Elite 8 (regional finals) games are split among CBS and TBS. In 2014 and 2015, Turner channels had exclusive rights to the Final Four (with standard coverage airing on TBS), and CBS broadcast the championship game. Since 2016, rights to the Final Four and championship game alternate between Turner and CBS; the 2016 tournament marked the first time that the national championship game was not broadcast on over-the-air television.
The same number of "windows" are provided to CBS as before, although unlike with the previous schedule where all games in a window started within 10 minutes of each other, resulting in the possibility of multiple close games ending at once, the start times of games are staggered, with action lasting later in the night and fewer simultaneous games than in the previous format. As a result of the new deal, Mega March Madness, a pay-per-view out-of-market sports package covering games in the tournament, was discontinued.
March Madness On Demand (now called March Madness Live) remained unchanged, with Turner Interactive taking over management of both that service and NCAA.com at the start of 2011. The contract was expected to be signed after a review by the NCAA Board of Directors. In 2012, the service was changed; only games televised by CBS, plus the national semifinals and final regardless of the broadcaster, are available for free. All other games televised by TBS, TNT and TruTV are available to authenticated subscribers to the channels on participating television providers.
The CBS-Turner coverage formally begins with The Selection Show—in which the teams participating in the tournament are announced, which follows CBS's coverage of the final game on Selection Sunday. During the tournament itself, TruTV broadcasts pre-game coverage, Infiniti NCAA Tip-Off, while TBS and TruTV also air the post-game show Inside March Madness. CBS also produces coverage of the Reese's College All-Star Game (held on the afternoon of the Final Four at its venue), and the Division II championship game, which are both aired as part of the March Madness package. In 2016, CBS extended the selection show to a two-hour format; however, the new special was criticized by viewers for being too padded, while the full bracket was leaked shortly into the broadcast. In 2017, the selection show was shortened to a 90-minute format.
On April 16, 2016, the contract was extended to 2032 in an $8.8 billion deal. The current broadcasting arrangements, including alternating broadcasts of the semi-finals and final, will remain in force.
Additionally, for 2014, TruTV and TNT aired special "Teamcast" coverage of the Final Four alongside TBS's conventional coverage, which featured commentators and other guests representing the schools in each game. While the consortium planned to tap local radio announcers from each team for the teamcasts, the majority refused due to commitments in calling the games for their local radio networks. However, Turner Sports' senior vice president of production, Craig Barry, did expect such difficulties, and planned accordingly with the possibility of using talent from outlets associated with the team, general region, or their conference (such as regional networks). The Teamcast feeds returned for the 2015 tournament, now branded as Team Stream powered by Bleacher Report. For 2016, they were also used on the National Championship game.
As CBS prefers having a singular broadcast feed, the Team Stream feature will not be used during any year that CBS holds the rights for the Final Four.
Other college basketball coverage from Turner Sports
Prior to 2011, Turner Sports' best known association with college basketball perhaps occurred on December 11, 1982, when TBS (with the aid of more than 100 independent network affiliates and stations) broadcast a contest between Virginia and Georgetown (led by Ralph Sampson and Patrick Ewing respectively). The game in question (in which TBS paid approximately US$600,000 for the broadcasting rights) was called by Skip Caray and Abe Lemons.
While most of the coverage is simulcast from the main U.S. feeds, coverage of the Final Four and national championship game uses a separate world feed produced by the ESPN College Basketball staff; in 2013, the Final Four broadcasts on ESPN International were called by ESPN's lead commentators Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale (alternatively joined by Brad Nessler for the second semi-final game).
CBS and Turner pool their resources for the tournament. While CBS's Jim Nantz remains the lead voice for the tournament, CBS's analysts are joined by analysts from NBA TV and TNT. Turner also provides play-by-play man Brian Anderson, who calls baseball for TBS and formerly did the same with lead NBA voice Marv Albert until he ended his association with CBS. (TNT's #2 NBA voice, Kevin Harlan, is already employed by CBS and thus does not require special arrangement to appear.)
Coverage originates from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City, and the Turner Sports studio in Atlanta, where many of the studio shows for the latter division's coverage of the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball emanate from.
CBS's college basketball studio host Greg Gumbel and Inside the NBA host Ernie Johnson, Jr. split hosting duties in the New York studio while NBA TV's Matt Winer hosts in the Atlanta studio. Johnson's colleagues on Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, join CBS analyst Clark Kellogg in the studio in New York City while Winer is joined by his NBA TV colleague Steve Smith and CBS's Seth Davis in Atlanta.
As previously mentioned, all four networks use a variation of the CBS College Basketball Theme during the tournament. Although CBS uses this arrangement for the tournament, they still use the arrangement that has been in use since 2004 during its regular season coverage.
During all intros and outros into commercial breaks in the 2014 coverage, Spanish coverage Galavision used Fiesta by Chilean Singer Denise Rosenthal, all broadcasters used Shot At The Night by The Killers as the theme/bumper music.
During select intros and into commercial breaks in the 2016 coverage, all broadcasters used Turn Up by The Heavy as the bumper music.
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- CBS, Turner Double Up on Resources for NCAA Tournament
- Most of TNT NBA Crew to Handle NCAA Tournament Coverage
- Official sites
- Turner Newsroom: Sports
- CBS, Turner Reveal Blueprints for NCAA Tournament Coverage
- CBS, Turner choose NCAA tournament announcers
- Why heck is truTV covering the NCAA basketball tourney?
- New March Madness format for TV viewers
- Fans can now see every NCAA Tournament game from start to finish
- NCAA Tournament Tip Times For 1st & 2nd Round Plus Announcing Teams
- truTV lands First Four games
- Sports Media Watch: NCAA Tournament on Turner
- Some First Thoughts on the First Four on TruTV
- Talking NCAA Tourney Deal With CBS, Turner Sports Presidents