Turner's Final Four Teamcasts May Provide Look At Future Of Big-Game Broadcasts
Turner Sports is rolling out its Teamcast for its first-ever Final Four, a format which may be "the next phase in sports TV," according to Ed Sherman in a special to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Turner Sports on Saturday is Teamcast will offer "special team-oriented calls for all four schools on TNT and truTV." The "conventional national telecast" of the semifinal games, featuring Jim Nantz, Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr, will be on TBS simultaneously. Teamcast coverage "will have a distinctive local feel geared to the particular team with features and other elements." When asked if formats like Teamcast and ESPN's BCS title game Megacast will be the prototype for network coverage of the Super Bowl and World Series, CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus said, "Anything is possible. We'll learn more from this experience." Turner Broadcasting System President David Levy said, "Not every sport lends itself to this, but I do think the Final Four gives us an opportunity to test out this theory." McManus "sees one potential pitfall" for the Final Four coverage: "What if a viewer is flipping around with the remote and doesn't realize he/she is watching a home-team call on either TNT or truTV?" McManus said, "We have to figure out a way to remind people that these are separate telecasts. I can see Twitter lighting up. 'Why are they rooting for (that team)? For years, all those people who wrote that (the announcers) are rooting for a specific team, well, now they can say that legitimately" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/4).
KEEP ON TRUCKIN': In California, Michael Lev notes it "took about half a year" for Turner to "figure out" how to make the Teamcasts work. The Teamcasts will "share most of the game cameras with the national telecast, but each teamcast will have its own production truck and, most important, its own slant on the game." Turner Sports Senior VP/Prduction & Exec Creative Dir Craig Barry said, "It’ll be a more energetic, more team-focused approach to the Final Four. Hopefully we’ll be able to create a really dynamic broadcast for people to watch." Lev: "No matter how it’s received, I applaud the effort. If you aren’t trying new things, you aren’t trying at all" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/4). In Boston, Chad Finn writes it will "be fascinating when the Nielsen numbers become available, if only to see whether or not this is something viewers want to make worth Turner’s while" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/4).
CHEMISTRY TEST: On Long Island, Neil Best notes Saturday's games -- the "first national semifinals ever to appear on a cable network -- will mark the first time" Nantz, Kerr and Anthony have worked as a team. Asked if he was concerned about putting together an announcing team for the first time for such big games, Kerr said, "Not the slightest bit. (Anthony and I) did three games together in Indianapolis. I honestly can say it was seamless" (NEWSDAY, 4/4).