SBD/November 18, 2013/Media

Turner, CBS To Produce Three Different Telecasts Of Men's Basketball Final Four In '14

Pre- and postgame Final Four shows will be simulcast across three channels
Turner Sports and CBS "will produce three different telecasts" for each of the two NCAA men's basketball national semifinal games, each with its own set of announcers, according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The "traditional national telecast will run on TBS, while TNT and truTV will carry the same games at the same time with announcers and camera angles customized to each specific team." TNT and truTV also "will produce different halftime shows that will be focused on the different teams in the Final Four," while pre- and postgame shows will be "simulcast across all three channels." Turner officials "have not decided what types of talent they will pursue and maintain that all options for using unique personalities are on the table." With this strategy of "surrounding the event by carrying the games across three fully distributed cable channels, Turner is certain to generate buzz around the games, which almost certainly will attract aggregate viewing numbers that would be higher than if only one network carried the event." The combined number from all three channels "possibly could close the cable-broadcast gap." Turner and CBS on the ad sales side "will likely maintain their strategy of doing one national sale that will see the same advertisements run at the same time in all three productions." Turner Sports Exec VP & COO Lenny Daniels said that Turner and CBS "collaborated on the decision, which he says was the result of pushing for innovation rather than chasing viewer numbers." NCAA VP/Men's Basketball Championship Dan Gavitt said, "Turner Sports has been fantastic addition to March Madness coverage. Turner's plan to add 'teamcasts' in this first year of televising the Final Four semifinal games on TBS is a great example of the creativity and innovation it has brought to the Division I Men's Basketball Championship" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/18 issue).

FINANCIAL FOUR: In Ft. Worth, Susan Schrock cites Arlington, Texas, city officials as saying that the '14 NCAA men's Final Four and its related events "will have brought in" an estimated $276M to the Texas economy. A local economic impact report showed that estimates have "each of the three games drawing 85,739 fans to AT&T Stadium, exceeding attendance of 73,350 to 74,326 per game at last year’s Final Four at the Georgia Dome." Final Four attendance has exceeded 73,000 four times and 75,000 twice in recent years. The local organizing committee has "blocked more than 40,000 rooms for the universities and other groups at 25 north Texas hotels," but with "only one convention-class, full-service hotel in the entertainment district, only a few visitors are expected to stay in Arlington." The study showed that most are "expected to stay in Dallas hotels, which can fetch $265 a night compared with Arlington’s $200 a night." ESPN "will broadcast the games from Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth, which is expected to draw thousands of fans and residents" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/17).
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