SBD/March 25, 2011/People and Pop Culture

This Week's Newsmakers: A Sterling Start To NCAA Coverage For CBS, Turner Sports

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week's newsmakers:

WIN: CBS/TURNER -- It's hard to imagine that the first weekend of NCAA Tournament coverage under the new four-network format could have gone better for SEAN MCMANUS and DAVID LEVY. CBS, TNT, TBS and little-known truTV receive glowing reviews for coverage of the early rounds, the first time every game has been available live in its entirety on TV. Even more importantly, audiences respond as well, with ratings up 15% through the first three rounds. The combination of CBS and Turner personalities also sits well with most viewers, who are treated to such new delights as longtime NBA announcer MARV ALBERT calling a college hoops game for the first time.

Leaked "Top Spin 4" spot returns
Williams back into the spotlight
LOSE
SERENA WILLIAMS -- Having been sidelined for the better part of a year, thanks to various injuries and ailments, this can't be the way the tennis star envisioned her return to the spotlight. Williams' co-star in a promotional video for the "Top Spin 4" video game leaked the racy spot, one 2K Sports says it never intended to use. Williams herself posted a note on her Twitter feed about the spot. There's no doubt the ad, featuring Williams making "grunting sounds" in a "black leotard and stockings," is meant to be shocking, and 2K was spot-on with its decision to leave it on the cutting-room floor.

DRAWCACTUS LEAGUE -- As Spring Training prepares to give way to Opening Day in less than a week, results from March action in Arizona are a mixed bag. The D'Backs and Rockies started the spring with the debut of their stunning new facility -- arguably the most advanced Spring Training complex in Arizona or Florida. And while both NL clubs have seen big gains at the gate, the other Cactus League teams have not been so lucky. Ten of the 15 teams have suffered double-digit declines in attendance, including four down more than 20%. Among the biggest losers are the Dodgers, Cubs and Angels. Still, BUD SELIG remains confident that when the final numbers are tallied, Cactus League attendance will be near that of last season.
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