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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  • kmn

    It’s good news for people who can afford the cable packages… not so much for the rest of us who watched it all on antenna-based CBS broadcasts.

  • Anonymous

    Holy crap, it’s going to be like watching the Olympics where there’s something on every channel. (Hope we get more of the Danish curling team, those ladies were pretty hot.)

  • Anonymous

    I noticed CBS will cede the telecast entirely to TNT in a few years. Is CBS insane? NFL and March Madness are the only things I watch on that network.

  • Anonymous

    Does this affect the free games they streamed online for the old first and second rounds?

  • Anonymous

    I liked the Canadian women’s curling team myself

  • Anonymous

    Star is posting Zeller, Teage, Dawson are McDonalds All Americans

  • Saw that. We’ll wait for the official announcement after 5PM.

  • MillaRed

    Sweet what network will the Hoosiers be playing on?

  • millzy32

    The 1987 Rerun channel. It’s a good one.

  • Anonymous

    Whoever will show the CBI, so like the Discovery Channel or QVC 🙂

  • JerryCT

    Why do I think they will still find a way to screws this up ?

    What about only 1 HD broadcast channel ? That might do it

  • InTheMtns

    As far as I know, they haven’t said yet. I loved March Madness on Demand — every game was available live and you could pick which ones you wanted to watch. It was absolutely great!

    When CBS and Turner first started talking about this new deal — about 11 months ago — I tired to follow the story to see if MMOD was still going to be available. The last that I read, it was still uncertain what they’re going to do. But, media writers are betting that if MMOD is available, the online live games will be available only to users who can authenticate that they are a cable subscriber that receives Turner programming.

    This is very similar to the model that ESPN uses for ESPN3.com. There is a flaw in that system though, because I do pay for the cable package that offers ESPN but my cable company is not one of the cable companies ESPN3.com does business with. So even though I pay for ESPN, I cannot connect to ESPN3.com. This new deal has games being shown on CBS and Turner Broadcasting’s TNT, TBS and truTV. Here’s a new problem – my cable company has TBS and TNT in the basic package but doesn’t offer truTV in any package. So, even if MMOD continues, I may be shut out of all the games on Turner Broadcasting because my cable company doesn’t offer all Turner’s channels or maybe I’ll just miss the ones on truTV.

    Why is this happening? Well, Turner’s three cable networks realize tremendous value from these programming rights when negotiating new distribution deals with cable providers. A decent percentage of Turner subscribers are up for renewal in the next ten years (right as the Final Four begins to shift over to cable) and having the rights to the tournament gives Turner favorable leverage in demanding higher subscriber rates from cable providers. Why might MMOD get shut off? The cable providers aren’t going to pay premium prices to Turner if that same programming is distributed freely online.

  • InTheMtns

    I’m not finding this to be great news either, kmn. I do subscribe to cable but my cable provider offers only 2 of the 3 Turner channels (no matter what package you subscribe to).