As March Madness Tips Off, Content Sharing Between NYC and Atlanta Bolsters Early Round Productions

Turner nets get ready to host Final Four as more Atlanta resources are being utilized throughout NCAA Tourney

Anyone who wasn’t aware that it was March was quickly reminded of the fact yesterday thanks to the likes of Loyola Chicago and Buffalo. The Madness is underway as CBS Sports and Turner Sports embark on their (believe it or not) eighth year collaborating on the live coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Turner and CBS are partnering on numerous games across eight regional sites for the First and Second Rounds of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this weekend.

Even after all of these years, the partnership between CBS and Turner remains exceptionally unique from any other sports rights agreement across the sports media landscape, and the two entities continue to blend together seamlessly to produce the rather large undertaking that is this three-week-long event.

“The largest evolution [in our partnership] has to do with our ability to share game content between [CBS in] New York and [Turner Sports in] Atlanta,” says Chris Brown, Director of Technical Operations for Turner Sports. “Our ability to work collaboratively to timely share content between both studios continues to expand.”

All 67 games will appear linearly on either CBS, TBS, TNT, or TruTV or joint production teams from both CBS Sports and Turner Sports are again scattered across eight sites this weekend: PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, American Airlines Center in Dallas, Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Spectrum Center in Charlotte, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and Viejas Arena in San Diego.

Nine mobile units are deployed this week (where including the First Four games in Dayton) all of which are being supplied by F&F Productions (which have provided primary truck support at the Final Four for many years), Game Creek Video, and NEP. All trucks throughout the early rounds of the tournament are booked by the production teams at CBS.

Opening weekend (first and second round) games are typically covered by five hard cameras and three handhelds. One hard and one handheld are super-slo-mos. Next weekend, at the Regional sites, the number of super-slo-mos climbs to three.

A noted addition to this year’s March Madness efforts is the expansion of VR productions to four additional early round sites. Last year, VR only made an appearance at the two Final Four games and the National Championship Game. This year, the number of games increases seven-fold with 21 tournament games available for viewing on the March Madness Live VR app. The VR productions are handled through support from Intel.

Also, of note for Final Four Weekend at the end of the month, Turner Sports networks will broadcast the National Semifinals and the National Championship Game. The main game broadcast will air on TBS. With Turner back at the controls, there are plans to bring back the homer-style broadcasts called TeamCasts, where local announcers are used to give a hometown flavor to the teams in the Final Four. Those special broadcasts will air on TNT and TruTV.

From here on out, Turner and CBS will alternate as the television destination for the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals, National Championship and Selection Show. That will continue throughout the partnership which current extends through 2032.

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