Could ESPN Team Up With CBS For March Madness?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I linked to this article yesterday in the Daily Links, but I wanted to take a closer look the interview that College Hoops Journal conducted with ESPN/ABC President George Bodenheimer recently. More specifically, the following quote that alludes to a potential plan by ESPN to team up with CBS to aid in their coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tourney....

"You know, we televised the tournament long before anybody thought of televising the early-round games. It’s one of the things that catapulted ESPN in the mid-1980s. And we have an extremely deep relationship with the NCAA. … We televise every game of the women’s tournament, we get the Frozen Four, the lacrosse tournament … we would love to get back into the men’s tournament — and perhaps with CBS, somehow. They’re a fine company and we do many things with them, like sharing the Masters. We love college hoops. It’s a staple at ESPN for a quarter, and it’s a great tournament and a great sport."
While I'd have to agree with Mr. Bodenheimer in that ESPN and CBS work well together on certain projects, I'm pretty sure that CBS isn't letting anyone infringe on the deal they have with the Tournament right now. It's a fine idea for the network, which is adding rights to tournaments and leagues left and right (they even got the Women's British Open today for 8 years!), but I just don't see it happening.

However, as we saw with the BCS, a ton of money can seemingly get you whatever you want. And hey, if it means we get access to even more games, I'm all for it!

An Interview With ESPN President George Bodenheimer (CHJ)


I'm generally pleased with CBS's coverage. They flex in and out of games at right times, and I generally I have no complaints with them. However, the more games we can see or have the option of seeing, the better it would be.

JFein said...
Dec 3, 2008, 3:36:00 PM  

The last thing that we need is Chris Berman and Dickie V at the Final Four. Stay strong, CBS.

GMoney said...
Dec 3, 2008, 4:03:00 PM  

Amen GMoney. We finally get a Final Four without Billy Packer. To add Dickie V would just a punch right in the gut.

Plus, you can see all the games on the internet and in some cities like mine, you can see them all on different channels thanks to a local simulcast.

Matt Barnes said...
Dec 3, 2008, 4:18:00 PM  

Didn't CBS ask ESPN to use Dickie V during the Tournament before, but got Jay Bilas instead?

Dec 3, 2008, 4:55:00 PM  

ESPN used to do the first 2 rounds, like Bodenheimer mentioned. IIRC, they did a fine job with it... jumping around freely to numerous games and showing every game in its entirety (tape-delayed) at some point during the late night/early morning hours. Wouldn't bother me a bit to see them share broadcasting rights... with CBS keeping the Final Four (and early round primetime matchups) while ESPN devotes blanket coverage to the rest.

Anonymous said...
Dec 3, 2008, 5:05:00 PM  

I'd be perfectly happy if ESPN stayed out of it. This is a perfect opportunity to use CBS College Sports to supplement for the NCAA Tournamet, especially now that it's in HD.

I do not want to hear Dickie V. He's HORRIBLE at announcing.

Anonymous said...
Dec 3, 2008, 8:36:00 PM  

if you give espn an inch, they will end up with the whole damn thing.

don't do it!


-dan said...
Dec 3, 2008, 9:07:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...
Dec 3, 2008, 11:08:00 PM  

ESPN used to have fabulous coverage and if you asked me 5 years ago I would have said yes but now that CBS carries all games on the internet FOR FREE, there is no way I want CBS to give it up. ESPN will definitely make you pay. CBS gets major kudos for putting not only the tournament on the web but SEC football as well. Here is an idea for the NFL network. Instead of just doing live look ins for Thursday Night Football. How about getting advertisers to sponsor the games on the web as well? You are the freaken NFL. You can easily make tons of money showing your product on the web. It sure beats listening to Jaime Dukes yammer on. Also, shouldn't Randy Moss be telling me who he has on the pick 3 at Hollywood Park?

steve said...
Dec 3, 2008, 11:13:00 PM  

CBS has done everything right. The fact that access to all the games is free and that they're all available in HD manifests to me that this is the right call. Let ESPN get the shaft for once.

Brad James said...
Dec 4, 2008, 1:30:00 PM  

I have no opinion on who covers the NCAA tournament on TV. But I would have loved to hear Brent Musburger, Billy Packer, and Dick Vitale call a Final Four. Would have gotten everyone talking at the least.

I agree with Steve that NFL Network should stream all of its live games with sponsor support. It would be a great public service for those who cannot see the games now through their providers.

Desmond said...
Dec 5, 2008, 12:02:00 PM  

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