Going "March Mad!"

by Melissa Brunner

We're just a few hours into March Madness and you can already tell the drop in productivity from having four big-screen televisions on the newsroom wall!

A new NCAA television contract has CBS teaming up with Turner Broadcasting. For the first time, every NCAA Tournament game will be broadcast in its entirety through the combined efforts of CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.

We've been trying to educate you on the downside of this - you won't be able to see the games on CBS. This is a huge blow for people who do not subscribe to satellite or cable television. I am among those households. It's usually not a big deal because we spend a lot of time with my father-in-law, so we'll often watch sporting events together at his house. However, his cable service, SCI of Jefferson County, does not have TruTV included in his package. I've heard this from some other folks as well. So, yes, this is a big dilemma. The contract offers NO OPTION for local CBS affiliates to show their home team. For those who think we're being less than honest about that, think about it - would we really not take the opportunity to show a game that would be of great local interest to our viewers, and, therefore, an attractive opportunity for advertisers, meaning a nice source of income for us? I can see why CBS wouldn't want stations taking away the games on their network, but it in the digital age when most stations have a secondary channel (like 13.2 MyTV), it would have been nice if home markets were given a buy-in to air their teams on secondary channels.

That said, sports fans are probably already seeing the bright side. The most common complaints we received during the past tournament broadcasts, when CBS regionalized what would be the main game for each area, had to do with why we weren't showing Team A versus Team B, and yet another person wished we were showing Team C. Now, you can see whichever game you want. Better yet, gather up the televisions from the various rooms in your home and line them up side by side to see them all at once! If you get all four of these networks, you are likely in heaven.

What do you think of the arrangement? Let me know your initial impressions and what might make it better?


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