“Short Circuit”/”Night Walk”: NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament


I am a big sports fan. Early March to early April is my favorite time of the sports year, headlined by the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournaments.

The picture above is from the 2016 National Championship game, between Villanova (dark blue) and North Carolina. That is the last shot of the game, which Villanova hit at the buzzer to win the National Championship. The Tournament had been traditionally shown on CBS; in the last few years, TBS, TNT, and TruTV have aired various rounds of the tournament, with CBS showing the Championship.

I DID NOT SEE THIS GAME OR THIS SHOT. I did not have cable or dish service, last year. The Championship was only on TBS.

Welcome to the Game Within The Game: the money tied into the Tournament.

According to this report, the NCAA paid a CRAZY amount of money to broadcast their tournament on the Turner Network, as well as keeping parts of it on CBS. This deal lets a lot of basketball fans – and betters – watch hours of basketball, with very few ‘interruptions’, if they switch between the 4 stations mentioned above.

If you have cable or dish service.

My issue with this is that it cuts out those viewers who do not have, do not want, or can not afford cable or dish. The Final Four, usually broadcast by CBS, is now shown alternatively on CBS and TBS. You can watch online…. if you have cable/dish service; otherwise, you are limited to a certain amount of hours of streaming before you become S.O.L..

“You can always listen on the radio.” True; I’ve done it for decades. Not quite the same as watching.

My solution to leaving out the CBS/radio folks: simulcast the Final Four. CBS and TBS can continue to show 2 of the 4 Regional Final games. For the Final Four, for example:

  • Both stations would show the Championship game but only one would show the Final Four games
  • Put the “main” broadcast team – Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, and Grant Hill – plus the “main” studio team – the Greg Gumbel team – on whichever station is showing the Championship game that year, including the pre-show and post-game

A couple other changes I would make:

  • I like that there is now a game that starts in the 5:00-5:30 area – keep that game. I’d keep it on TBS or TruTV, except for those markets in which the teams playing are located; show those on CBS.
  • I understand that 60 Minutes is still a ratings producer for CBSso what do you do about Sunday night games, especially in the West Region? I’d leave that 7:00-9:00 block intact on CBS, showing those games on TNT or TBS (especially the Elite Eight), but would show a late Sunday game on CBS only.

So, my advice to the NCAA, as a fan of basketball for decades: don’t forget the network viewers who are not on cable or dish. Simulcast the National Championship on CBS and TBS!

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