Changes coming to NCAA Tournament TV schedule

  • 02/10/2011 12:53 pm in

When the new television agreement for the NCAA Tournament between the NCAA, CBS and Turner Sports was announced last spring, the most significant development was that each game would be televised nationally.

This was always a complaint of fans without access to DIRECTV’s Mega March Madness package (now rendered irrelevant with this new TV deal) as local CBS affiliates had complete control over which games would be shown in a particular viewing area.

Today, according to USA Today, CBS and Turner Sports will announce how the changes to the tournament’s television schedule will be implemented. Behold:

CBS and Turner Sports will formally announce Thursday how NCAA men’s tournament scheduling will change to fit their new joint coverage, which will allow viewers to see every game in its entirety. That means new tip-off times and action in new time slots. The big idea, particularly in early-round coverage, is spreading out the time between tip-offs.

In CBS’ former regionalized coverage, tip-offs were tightly bunched to let it shift audiences between a succession of game finishes. Now with each tournament game getting full coverage on CBS or Turner’s TBS, TNT or truTV cable channels, tip-offs will be spaced further apart.

It also appears that games will continue into primetime on the first Sunday of the tournament:

It also will extend coverage. On the tournament’s first Sunday, for example, NCAA games used to end in time for CBS to air 60 Minutes and its prime-time lineup on TV’s most-watched night. This year, NCAA action that Sunday night will continue until about midnight ET on Turner.

Good news. Good news, indeed.

(HT: Richard Deitsch)

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