March Madness is a time of great success along with upsetting, shocking defeats. The tournament lasts a month long that will determine the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship team. So why did it take millions of viewers missing parts of games for decades before the networks realized we ALL want to watch ALL the games? Well, 2011 is the year!!
One network, CBS, and three Turner cable channels, TBS, TNT and truTv will each individually broadcast different Division I Men’s Basketball matches from start to finish so that collectively they will show all the games. Not only are you able to watch one game, you are able to view the continuous scores of all the other games on the other networks from the top of your tv screen so you don’t miss a beat! Viewers now have the ability to flip between channels to the most exciting matches. This brings more coverage to the networks while broadening the audience of viewers. Not everyone watches basketball, but during March Madness, many more do because of the upbeat competition of the tournament. These four channels allow all the viewers to keep track of their bracket and join in on the fun!
So far all channels collectively have done an excellent job of keeping fans up to date with coverage and news on the tournament before and after each game. A team of commentators led by Greg Gumbel have kept the conversation going for every match up. The partnership that CBS and Turner has created where the feel and look of each station’s broadcast, including the same graphics and commentators, has convincingly made viewers feel like they are watching the same tournament. As opposed to the tournament being broken down among four different stations with their individual interpretation of how it should look. This ideal broadcast is what March Madness fans have been craving for years.
CBS has owned the rights to March Madness since 1982 and since all that time CBS controlled what games were shown. So in a bold move for making the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament available for all basketball freaks and bracket-fillers, CBS signed a 14 year deal with Time Warner’s Turner cable company for $10.8 billion to own the rights to the tournament. In doing so CBS and Turner have become each a customer-centric organization. They saw what the fans wanted and delivered. “It’s a better programming option for the viewer at home and the basketball fan,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “More work on his or her part to find the game, but they get to decide what game they want to watch. In the past, I think we did a very good job of moving around, but it was our [CBS] decision.” Since CBS and Turner have become customer focused they see the importance for the NCAA tournament to be controlled by the viewers, and to allow the Madness of March to be experienced by the fans.
The next set of tournament games are this Thursday and Friday, March 24th and 25th, which showcase the remaining Sweet Sixteen. Check www.ncaa.com for a live bracket of the remaining teams and teams whose road to victory has ended.
-Lauren DeHart & JC Salter