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Final Four May Look Different This Year Thanks To Turner

Final Four Broadcasting

It looks like the Final Four coverage will be bigger in Texas too.

CBS and Turner pay an average of $771 million annually over 14 years to broadcast the NCAA Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, if you will.  CBS will exclusively carry the championship game on April 7th, which will be broadcast in the traditional form.

Turner, however, will be transforming the way everyone watches the Final Four.

A traditional national telecast will run on TBS. This is where the transformation happens: TNT and truTV will carry the same games at the same time with announcers and camera angles customized to each specific team.

Interesting, isn’t it?

How will you watch the Final Four?

Because of this new “home team viewing” idea, viewers will have a choice of how they prefer to watch the final four.

For instance: if Kentucky and Michigan State meet in a semifinal game, one network will tailor their coverage to Kentucky fans, while the other will tailor their coverage to Michigan State fans. While pre and post-game coverage will remain uniform across all three stations.  However, halftime shows on TNT and truTV will be produced based on the given team that each station has been appointed.

Lenny Daniels, Turner’s executive vice president and COO, explains the idea:

“This concept is born out of the popularity and incredible passion fans have for their college basketball teams and schools, and with this innovative approach we are tapping into their enthusiasm with three distinct telecasts.”


Each “team broadcast” will come with its own announcers and production.  Jim Nantz, Steve Kerr, Greg Anthony and Tracy Wolfson are said to be ideal for running the tradition broadcast on TBS.  But announcers for the other two broadcasts will likely be ones that are very familiar with one of the given teams, which will ensure a better experience for fans of said team.  Daniels also mentioned the idea was not about ratings:

“This is really about giving fans alternate viewing options.  Ratings are always a consideration, but we’re not worried about them. We’re looking for innovative, forward-thinking ways to present these games.”

The 2014 Final Four will represent the first time that the semis will be carried on cable television.  According to Sports Business Journal:

Typically, properties that move from broadcast to cable see viewership figures drop. For example, when the British Open moved from ABC to ESPN in 2010, weekend ratings dropped 35 percent. It’s widely believed the Final Four would fare better than that.

While ratings seem to be an afterthought in this innovative idea, they still matter.  Anyone in the TV industry will tell you that.

See you in March.

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