CBS Apologizes For Early Game Switching Issues

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It can't be easy to jump between three games, while all are under a minute left to play, but that's exactly what CBS has had to do multiple times in the Tournament so far. For the most part, they've been doing a splendid job, but there have two specific incidents that caused an uproar. The first one came on Friday, as a potential buzzer beater by Wisconsin was switched away from in mid-air, and the second was a change away from the supposed "constant feed" in Louisville during their game against Siena.

Well today, CBS Sports Exec VP/Programming Mike Aresco apologized for the problems, and explained that one was a control room error, and one was just a bad idea. Via SBD....

"We always plan on staying with a constant. In some situations, and we've done it over the years, we'll try to get to just a buzzer-beater and get right back to the constant. In this particular case we had an unusual situation that developed. You had two exciting potential buzzer-beaters at the same time. We're trying to what we call ping-pong back and forth and then there were some bizarre circumstances in those games and we did use commercials as best we could. When games were stopped we would go back but in this particular case, yeah, we didn't get back fast enough and things were happening quickly and it happens." Aresco said CBS "in this particular case" made a mistake. Aresco: "I think in this particular case we probably needed to get back a little quicker." Meanwhile, Aresco described the network cutting away from Friday night's Wisconsin-Florida State game while the final shot was in mid-air as a "control room error"
While I was one of forty people yelling at a bar during the Wisconsin-FSU one, I could understand the slip up, as both games were extremely close in the last minute of play. The whole constant thing in Louisville is only really an issue because they were trailing Siena by two at the time. Had they been up, no one would have complained about missing just a minute of action.

I think CBS does an amazing job of switching between the games, but it might be time to go with a split-screen if they can. That way they cover all of their bases.

Bait and Switch (Sports Business Daily - $)


Believe me, people here in Columbus are still raging over CBS switching from the OSU game to the Wisconsin game in the final seconds.

GMoney said...
Mar 24, 2009, 1:38:00 PM  

What i didn't get about the Wisconsin game is that they switched too early to the last shot...they were still coming from the timeout...and they missed the result of the final shot.

And, they missed like a minute of the overtime of the Siena game. It was bizarre because like AA said, they are usually very good.

Like the way they "ping-ponged" with the Gonzaga & Duke finishes was perfect.

For the life of me, I don't understand why they don't stagger the start times more. In the sweet 16, there's a 20-minute difference. But the first & second rounds, it's only a few minutes.

Sean OLeary said...
Mar 24, 2009, 2:00:00 PM  

I agree on the FSU/Wisconsin game, I think the Siena/Louisville switch off was the worse mistake, because that would have been crucially bad if Siena had ended up winning.

This is where ESPN, or even the other Viacom channels can help big time.

By the way, there's no way that car is $19,995, I would switch.

The Rabbi said...
Mar 24, 2009, 2:11:00 PM  

People in Columbus are still raging over losing BCS games the last three years.

walnuts said...
Mar 24, 2009, 2:15:00 PM  

I know that the split screen works exceptionally well on NBA TV.

Brad James said...
Mar 24, 2009, 2:22:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
N Garrett said...
Mar 24, 2009, 5:31:00 PM  

I do agree CBS is on the ball with switching games but for god's sake its 2009 go to a freaking SPLIT SCREEN. People do have the ability to mulit task nowadays....jeez

N Garrett said...
Mar 24, 2009, 5:33:00 PM  

After purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket for the first time this past season, I was thinking the same thing about CBS needing to go to a split screen just like DirecTV does with their RedZone channel.

odisn said...
Mar 24, 2009, 10:26:00 PM  

Agreed on split screen. But Viacom is no longer the same as CBS.

And while ESPN could definitely help with putting out-of-market games on its cable platforms, I'm not sure if it would be able to, or if one-game-at-a-time is an NCAA call. Or if it would want to as opposed to going for the additional revenues from its Full Court and ESPN360 services the way CBS does with Mega March Madness and MMOD.

Morgan Wick said...
Mar 25, 2009, 4:21:00 AM  

CBS usually does a decent job switching, but it's a killer for fans in home markets who are used to watching their team's entire games the entire season. In those cases, getting jerked away during a key portion or even missing a significant chunk of earlier action is kind of unfair.

I live in Annapolis and I'm covered by the DC and Baltimore markets. Two years ago, Maryland was playing in the second round against Butler and we missed the more than 5 minutes of game action (there was 14 something on the clock) because CBS insisted on showing the entire overtime of Ohio State/Xavier. By the last minute of OT, Ohio State had pulled away and Xavier was fouling every time, but with no real chance of coming back. The outcome had long since been decided. It would've made much more sense to at least switch the coverage in DC and Baltimore.

In fact, I would say that they really should avoid leaving coverage of home market teams in almost all circumstances (with an exception for the final 30 seconds of a another game). Otherwise, you're doing a disservice to the home audience. Obviously, when a home market team isn't involved, the coverage should be switched around to the best or closest finishes. I had no problem with the way this worked in our market on Sunday. I can certainly understand why people in Louisville were irate though. I would also disagree with the original post a little. I wouldn't say it was just because Siena was ahead that people were upset, but that the game was still in doubt. I don't think they'd have been much happier if Louisville had been ahead by a relatively small margin.

Ronmexico said...
Mar 25, 2009, 11:52:00 AM  

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