NCAA March Madness (CBS/Turner)

NCAA March Madness (CBS/Turner)

NCAA March Madness (on CBS / TBS / TNT / truTV) is the title of the coverage of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament jointly produced by CBS Sports and Turner Sports, with coverage airing on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, beginning with the 2011 tournament.

Initially, CBS will continue to have coverage during most rounds, with Turner channels covering much of the early rounds to the Sweet Sixteen. In 2016, the regional finals, Final Four and national championship game will begin to alternate between CBS and TBS.[1] TBS will get the final two rounds in even numbered years, with CBS getting the games in odd numbered years.[2]

This joint tournament coverage should be distinguished from CBS's regular-season and conference tournament coverage, which it produces on its own. Turner does not currently cover regular-season or conference tournament college basketball games. However, games on all four networks use a variation of the longtime CBS College Basketball theme music.


Background and coverage breakdown

On April 22, 2010, a monumental 14 year 10.8 billion dollar agreement was reached with Turner to receive joint broadcast rights along with CBS for the NCAA 'March Madness' college basketball tournament. This came after there was speculation that ESPN would snag the rights to future tournament games.[3] The NCAA took advantage of an opt-out clause in its 1999 deal with CBS (which ran through 2013 even though the NCAA had the option of ending the agreement after the 2010 championship) to announce its intention to sign a new contract with CBS and Turner Sports, a division of Time Warner (which co-owns the CW Television Network with CBS). The new contract came amid serious consideration by the NCAA of expanding the tournament to 68 teams.

It runs through 2024 and provides for the broadcast of all games of the tournament on national television for the first time in history. All first four games will air on truTV. A featured second or third round game in each time "window" will be broadcast terrestrially on CBS, while all other games will be shown either on TBS, TNT or truTV. Sweet 16 (regional semifinal) games would be broadcast on CBS and TBS, while all games from the Elite Eight (regional final) onwards would be shown on CBS exclusively. March Madness On Demand would remain unchanged, with Turner Interactive taking over management of both that service and as of the start on 2011. The contract was expected to be signed after a review by the NCAA Board of Directors.[4]

As a result with the tournament deal with CBS and Turner Sports, Mega March Madness, a pay-per-view out-of-market sports package covering games in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship (which was exclusive to DirecTV since 2002 and supplemented the coverage from CBS Sports) was discontinued. Since the new deal would facilitate national coverage of every game on a cable or broadcast channel without cut-aways or staggered scheduling, this made the Mega March Madness package superfluous.[5]

Turner Sports airs full-length studio shows before and after each session of play. The pregame show is called Infiniti NCAA Tip-Off and all shows air on truTV. The postgame show, called Inside March Madness presented by Buick, alternates between truTV and TBS.[6]

truTV has also added coverage of the Reese's College All-Star Game. The game had been shown on CBS College Sports Network, which also will no longer show live NCAA tournament contests. (It had two per year from 2007 to 2010.)

Number of games per network:

  • CBS: 26
  • TBS: 16
  • truTV: 13
  • TNT: 12

Due to TNT's part in coverage of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, the NBA shifted over what would have been the Thursday night games in the third week of that month to Monday nights and they aired as part of ESPN's coverage instead.

Other college basketball coverage from Turner Sports

Before 2011, Turner Sports' best known association with college basketball perhaps occurred on December 11, 1982, when TBS (with the aid of more than 100 independent network affiliates and stations[7]) broadcast a contest between Virginia and Georgetown[8][9] (led by Ralph Sampson and Patrick Ewing[10] respectively). The game in question (in which TBS paid approximately $600,000[11] for the broadcasting rights) was called by Skip Caray[12] and Abe Lemons.

Beginning in 2012, truTV will air the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic[13].


CBS and Turner pool their resources for the tournament, with members of the NBA on TNT crew joining CBS' established March Madness broadcasters. Coverage originates from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City and Turner's Atlanta studios.[14]


  1. ^ NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament Expands To 68 Teams; CBS Adds Turner To Television Team (press release via TV by the Numbers)
  2. ^ "CBS cuts in Turner on NCAA basketball tournament". Los Angeles Times. April 23, 2010.,0,695439.story. 
  3. ^ ESPN to snag the Final Four? Don Surber, Daily Mail
  4. ^ "CBS, Turner win TV rights to tourney". ESPN. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Turner Networks To Air 41 March Madness Tournament Games Multichannel News February 10, 2011
  6. ^ 2011 NCAA Tournament TV Schedule
  7. ^ Stoda, Greg (10 December 1982). "Battle of giants forms collation". Star-News.,2557299&dq=college+basketball+on+wtbs&hl=en. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Rothenberg, Fred (22 July 1982). "Superstation Wtbs Fights Network Methods, Programs". Toldeo Blade.,4073406&dq=college+basketball+on+wtbs&hl=en. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Richard, Chris (22 July 1982). "Awesome Basketball Game Spotlights Sampson-Ewing Confrontation". The Cavalier Daily.,6161877&dq=college+basketball+on+wtbs&hl=en. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Meade, Peter (8 December 1982). "The Biggest Showdown?". The Times-News.,5729411&dq=college+basketball+on+wtbs&hl=en. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Siddens, Larry (16 September 1982). "Court Ruling Is Made On Televised NCAA Athletics". Daily Times.,1533328&dq=college+basketball+on+wtbs&hl=en. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Hawks Relive Caray Of Announcing Duties". The Palm Beach Post. 4 February 1983.,1949097&dq=college+basketball+on+wtbs&hl=en. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Fang, Ken (14 September 2011). "Turner Sports Snatches The Rights To Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Starting in 2012". Wordpress. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Turner Sports. "CBS, Turner combine talent rosters". Retrieved 2011-01-20. 

External links

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