CBS Sports Sets Stage for Masters Coverage with New Tracers, Monopole
Longer 13th hole gives CBS team a chance to cover it in new ways
CBS Sports is tackling one of the biggest production doubleheaders there is during the next two weeks as it gives sports fans a back-to-back serving of the March Madness Final Four this weekend and then the Masters golf tournament the weekend of April 8-9 (and with coverage overlapping on April 3 with On The Range kicking off Masters coverage and March Madness concluding with the men’s national championship game.
“It’s an exciting time to be at CBS as we’ve got the Final Four and championship game this coming weekend from Houston and then we go right down to the longest running partnership in all of sports television,” says CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “In addition to our regular on Saturday and Sunday we have 100 hours of coverage starting with On the Range on Monday. We’re really excited to get down and present the Masters yet again.”
McManus says he feels really good about where the CBS golf production and talent team is following a West Coast swing that he says have them firing on all cylinders. McManus says this is the third Masters for lead golf Producer Sellers Shy and he couldn’t be happier with having Shy in charge of the production.
“We have the best storytellers in all of golf production,” he adds.
One of the big storytelling tools on the PGA Tour from a production standpoint this year has been the walk and talk interviews that have allowed CBS talent to interview players on the course.
“Right now, there is nothing scheduled for walk and talk but as you know we have properly placed mics within the course and my guess is you’ll get the kind of quality audio we’ve gotten here in the past,” says Shy.
McManus says the Masters and CBS relationship has always been one of innovation.
“People like to say that the coverage is very traditional, but it really is about innovation, whether it was color television, high definition television, or the use of FlyCams,” he says. “We’re pretty much free to do what we want to do. I’m proud of what we’ve done, and I think we’re going to continue to push the envelope.”
Among this year’s highlights will be some new tracers as well as a constant leaderboard that McManus says will be used in more creative ways.
“In many ways the Masters telecast really sets the standard for every other broadcast in the business,” he adds.
Shy says viewers should also look for some enhancements around the tee box on the 13th hole.
“Without showing our hand we’ll have some enhancements there that I think the viewers are going to enjoy,” he says. “One is a nice monopole in the back that has a higher trace view to show the shape of the shot as we try to match the enhancements that the Club put forward with lengthening the hole and we hope the viewer enjoys it.”
Drones will also be back as Shy says the CBS production team tries to cover Augusta National from top to tail.
“The drones are sensational, and I can’t wait to see what [Director] Steve Milton does with those,” he adds. “And our jibs and super slo-mos are part of improving from the previous year. And one thing we’ve learned is it’s very difficult to match the beauty that is out there. But we strive to catch that next great image because there are so many of them out here; they’re endless.”
This year’s Masters also marks the first for new CBS golf analyst Trevor Immelman whom McManus says has settled into the role.
“Keep in mind that he is only the fifth full-time analyst we have had at CBS since the 1950s and I couldn’t be happier with the chemistry that he has shown, both with [lead commentator] Jim Nantz in the 18th tower, and also the other commentators,” he adds.
Immelman says that part of his easy transition into the analyst role was his getting to know Nantz during the last few years of his career as well as the four years he worked at CBS before sliding into the lead role.
“As I was starting to work for CBS I was able to spend some time with him in and around the compound and then we just had a chance to know each other better and understand each other’s cadence,” he adds. “But he is such a legend that he really does make it easy on the rest of us.”
Adds McManus: “You can imagine a seamless transition for Trevor to assume this role. He didn’t have to learn hot to hit the talk back button or how to take a count to commercial. He was really a seasoned veteran by the time he took his seat next to Jim in the tower.”
Coverage for the longest-running sporting event broadcast on one network to begin on Monday, April 3 with Masters on the Range and then ramps up throughout the week, culminating with broadcast coverage on Easter Sunday (April 9) from 2-7 pm EST. Viewers will be able to catch all the live tournament coverage on either CBS or Paramount+ beginning with the third round on April 8 from 3-7 pm EST.