CBS Sports, Turner Sports Will Pay All March Madness Techs and Utilities, Including Freelancers

The gesture covers anyone contracted to work the NCAA Tournament, Final Four, and the D-II/D-III National Championship Games

There has been an onslaught of bad breaks for those working in the sports-video–production and –operations industry over the past week as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But, finally, a bit of good news.

All technicians and utilities scheduled to work on CBS Sports’ canceled March Madness production will be paid.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports will pay all technicians and utilities — including freelancers — who were scheduled to work the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Final Four Weekend, and the Division II and Division III National Championship Games.

In an email to members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW Director, Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Robert Prunn stated that CBS Sports will pay “straight-time hours” for the days for which each professional was booked and will also make “corresponding benefit contributions to the Flex Plan and Entertainment Industry 401K plan.” It also added that “payment will be made in weekly payroll over the next few weeks, just as if you were working.”

Said Prunn, “The IBEW extends its sincerest thanks to CBS Sports for this incredible gesture towards our freelance members. We especially would like to recognize the efforts of [CBS Sports EVP, Operations and Engineering,] Patty Power, who, from early on, was communicating with us, understood the gravity of the impact on our members, and, together with the CBS Sports executive leadership team, worked hard to make this happen.”

For freelancers, this gesture is not limited to just those working onsite. It is granted to those who work at any of the event’s broadcast centers in studios, edit rooms, and coordination rooms as well.

A CBS Sports spokesperson and a Turner Sports spokesperson each confirmed the news when reached by SVG for comment on Monday.