03/12/21: CBS Sports and Turner Sports finalized broadcast teams for the NCAA Tournament


Medias First Morning Read


Friday March 12, 2021

CBS Sports and Turner Sports firmed up their broadcast teams for the upcoming NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, where all 67 games will be televised across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, in addition to NCAA March Madness Live, beginning March 18 with the NCAA First Four on truTV and TBS. This year’s NCAA Final Four National Semifinals April 3, and National Championship on April 5, from Indianapolis will be called by Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and reporter Tracy Wolfson on CBS.

This year’s Tournament will feature two studios – one in New York and one in Atlanta. Ernie Johnson will host from Turner Studios in Atlanta alongside analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Candace Parker with Andy Katz joining studio coverage. Greg Gumbel will host studio coverage from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York and be joined by Clark Kellogg, Seth Davis and Wally Szczerbiak, with Adam Zucker providing game updates. There will be 10 game commentator teams. Following is the complete list of announcer pairings:
Jim Nantz / Bill Raftery / Grant Hill // Tracy Wolfson*
Brian Anderson / Jim Jackson // Allie LaForce*
Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Jamie Erdahl*
Kevin Harlan / Dan Bonner // Dana Jacobson*
Carter Blackburn / Debbie Antonelli
Lisa Byington / Steve Smith
Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas // AJ Ross
Spero Dedes / Brendan Haywood // Lauren Shehadi
Tom McCarthy / Avery Johnson
Brad Nessler / Steve Lavin // Evan Washburn.


Tongues continue to wag with the official announcement that Disney had picked up the primary NHL package. The orgs confirmed that the deal will run seven years, from the 2021-22 season through 2027-28, with Disney paying $2.8 billion over the course of the deal, according to the New York Post. Deal points include ABC picking up exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final in four of the seven years. ABC/ESPN also gets to pick which conference finals it wants each season, and half of all playoff games. Twenty-five exclusive national games will be carried on ABC or ESPN while another 75 will be showcased on both ESPN+ and Hulu, with more than 1,000 live games per season on ESPN+. The company also gets NHL’s Face-off (opening night games), the NHL All-Star Game and Skills Challenge, plus other NHL special events each season.

Major League Soccer’s 26th season is set to kick off on Friday, April 16 with all five national broadcast partners delivering matches on their networks. New expansion club Austin FC debuts against LAFC at Banc of California Stadium on April 17 as part of a 13-match opening weekend slate. The 2021 opening weekend will be the first time all five national broadcast partners showcase MLS matches on their over-the-air networks, including ABC, FOX, and Univision’s UniMás in the U.S. and CTV and TVA in Canada. ABC and ESPN networks will kick off their 26th season of national coverage on April 18 with LA Galaxy/Inter Miami CF. FOX Sports will showcase three matches opening weekend, headlined by Austin FC’s inaugural match and two additional matches on FS1. All three matches will also be broadcast nationally in Spanish on FOX Deportes. Univision’s coverage will begin when UniMás spotlights Orlando City SC hosting Atlanta United on April 17.

NBC Sports reports viewership gains for the PGA TOUR to open the 2021 calendar year, with a 30% year-over-year viewership uptick on NBC and a 24% increase for GOLF Channel/NBC tournament coverage through last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, according to Nielsen. Overall, 26 tournament telecasts on GOLF Channel/NBC have seen at least 10% viewership growth in 2021 compared to the first two months of 2020, and eight of the 10 PGA TOUR events on GOLF Channel/NBC in 2021 have posted year-over-year viewership growth vs. comparable coverage of the same event.

Meanwhile, FOX Sports saw big gains for the BIG EAST WBB Tournament, which ranked as the best-performing BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament across FS1 and FS2, up 202% over last year’s previous record for average viewership across seven games. Four games on FS1 grew 162% in viewership over last year’s previous high for three games.

FOX Sports saw its coverage of the 2021 BIG EAST Tournament open with increases in viewership as Wednesday’s evening first-round games notched upticks over the comparable 2020 and 2019 matchups. FS1 viewership for Butler’s overtime win against Xavier and DePaul’s win vs. Providence on was up a combined +49% over the 2020 two-game comparable average and up +65% over the comparable two-game 2019 average.

Hey brands! Request an exclusive invite to the Cynopsis Sports & Esports Newfront where brand execs and their reps will be able to learn about the slate of opportunities from the sports and esports business from established leagues to new ones. This 2-day event is designed with ample networking time so that select attendees can connect to discuss session content, and other recent developments.

CBS Sports Network will offer extensive coverage of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship with live studio programming, exclusive encore showings, and more throughout more than 75 hours of live coverage. Throughout the entire Tournament, NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown and NCAA March Madness 360 recap the action from all 67 Tournament games with highlights, news and extensive analysis. Coverage begins on Sunday with a three-hour edition of NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown following the Selection Show on CBS.

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi told Reuters that tennis’ key entities are exploring an overhaul of the sport’s governance with an eye to streamline calendar and commercial operations. He stated that a “T7 working group” that included the ATP, WTA, the four Grand Slams and the International Tennis Federation will start discussion later this month, with a goal of a unified calendar, shared commercial offerings, sponsorships and TV deals.

ESPN re-signed MLB National Reporter Marly Rivera to a multi-year extension. Rivera, who has been with ESPN since 2011, will serve as a reporter on ESPN’s national weeknight MLB game telecasts and studio programming such as SportsCenter. She will also be a regular contributor to various ESPN Radio shows, podcasts and digital platforms, and remain part of ESPN’s international programming.

ESPN is also expanding its sports betting portfolio and the Daily Wager brand with the launch of a new podcast and a series of radio specials. ESPN Podcasts will debut the Daily Wager Podcast on Monday, March 15, and the first of four Daily Wager Tournament Preview radio specials will air on ESPN Radio on Saturday, March 20. The radio specials will be hosted by Dalen Cuff, joined for the first episode by ESPN sports betting analyst Chris “The Bear” Fallica. Fortenbaugh, Fulghum and other Daily Wager hosts will contribute in the weeks ahead.

Nitro Rallycross revealed its 2021 plans with five events in four months across North America. Each stop will feature vast purpose-built tracks incorporating innovative course designs, mixed surfaces and the biggest jumps in the sport. The 2021 series will kick off on September 24th and 25th. Every event will be featured live on Peacock for free and eight hours from every North American stop will also be streamed on NBCU’s new streaming service. In addition, a one-hour highlight show will air after each race on NBCSN.

The XFL, which Dwayne Johnson purchased in 2020 for $15 million, is pushing its relaunch, which was slated for 2022 and is now exploring a partnership with the Canadian Football League, according to USA Today. Representatives from the two leagues issued a joint statement Wednesday announcing the proposal.

The Big Ten Network saw its coverage of the 2021 wrestling season wrap up with a record breaking 324,322 viewers for the final session of the 2021 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. Viewership saw a rise of 29% growth from the previous record, set in 2020, and made it the most-watched wrestling championship broadcast in network history. In addition to the television audience, nearly 9 million minutes (8,869,665) of individual mats and consolation matches were streamed via Big Ten Network+ and the FOX Sports app.

Meanwhile, the Big Ten Network’s coverage of the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, March 14-16, begins on Sunday with the first of six games from Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena. Wisconsin. Ben Holden and Paul Caponigri will have the call for the quarterfinals round, while Dan Kelly and Fred Pletsch will take over for the semifinals and championship game. Michelle McMahon will serve as the on-site reporter and Rick Pizzo will anchor studio coverage, joined by Caponigri during semifinal and championship game coverage.

All Sports Television Network entered into an agreement to broadcast International Federation of Pickleball matches. Under the agreement, ALL SPORTS will air IFP sanctioned international, national, and regional tournaments. Additionally, the network plans to broadcast matches held by member organizations throughout the world.

PokerGO debuts the next installment of High Stakes Duel live from the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas. High Stakes Duel II premieres on March 16 at 5p. The platform will also debut a Hype Show on March 15 at 4:30p.

The 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will air in its entirety on SiriusXM, which will also offer in-depth daily coverage throughout the tournament on several exclusive 24/7 college sports talk channels. All Men’s NCAA Tournament game. SiriusXM will also offer coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, providing listeners with live play-by-play of the Women’s Final Four and championship game.

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Mondel?z International, the NBA and USA Basketball announced a multiyear partnership that makes the leading snacking company an Official Partner of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League and USA Basketball. With the deal, the brand will create a variety of products and consumer promotions with the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and USA Basketball featuring leading brands from the Mondel?z International portfolio such as OREO Cookies, Chips Ahoy!, Nutter Butter, belVita, Ritz Crackers, Trident and Sour Patch Kids, tipping off their partnership later this month at retailers nationwide with the launch of limited-edition NBA Dynasty OREO Cookies

After locking in a deal with the NBA, Hennessy is now also partnering with ten NBA teams. Programming will vary be city, with Hennessy “amplifying the local team spirit of each NBA market through world- class marketing support, tailored community and social platforms, retail activations featuring custom POS and localized packaging.” Teams will include the Hawks, Hornets, Mavericks, Pistons, Warriors, Bucks, Grizzlies, Pelicans, 76ers and Wizards.

Aflac is readying for The Big Dance with a bracket-busting campaign to connect with over 150 million basketball fans who are missing the traditional March Madness experience. Developed in partnership with DDB New York, the campaign, which marks Aflac’s first season as an Official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, starts on Selection Sunday and continues throughout the tournament, Rob Riggle, the Aflac Duck and Lil Rel Howery will anchor Aflac’s new campaign with the Post-Pain Show, a faux sports news program.


Kenny “The Jet” Smith is joining the FanDuel Group team as part of an exclusive content deal with the sportsbook. The new partnership designates FanDuel as the exclusive sports betting and daily fantasy provider for Kenny Smith. Additionally, Smith will appear in FanDuel advertising and TNT promotions featuring FanDuel’s free to play contests. Smith will also provide unique content for FanDuel Group’s social media channels. In addition, FanDuel debuted a new free to play game exclusively for Turner Sports – FanDuel Over/Under.

Trevor Lawrence signed on with Topps in a landmark deal that will see the Clemson quarterback featured in an exclusive box set of cards scheduled for release in April. The set will be created in collaboration with Trevor’s brother and sister-in-law Chase and Brooke Lawrence and include 50 cards, including autographs on select pieces and will feature a mix of oil paintings and digital depictions crafted by Chase and Brooke.

The International Paralympic Committee appointed egoli Media, an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled technology and media company, to transform its content management, increase accessibility and create new monetization and storytelling opportunities. The partnership, runs through 2024 and will see egoli Media use its proprietary AI software to digitize and automatically log, tag and categorize all IPC-owned content.

The YES Network launched a new app that provides authenticated users with a live stream of the YES Network in addition to personalized notification features, an alternate feed and game highlights. The YES App replaces the FOX Sports GO app as the official destination for YES’ streaming content.


The NBA 2K League revealed the pool of 265 players who are eligible for the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft, which will be held virtually on Saturday at 7p and livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. For the first time, fans watching the draft will have access to a variety of viewing options through Twitch’s Command Center, including 2v2 MyPark games with former NBA 2K League players and draftees; live interviews with draftees; and the Virtual VIP Lounge featuring influencers. The broadcast will also feature special guests announcing select picks, including hip-hop artists 2 Chainz (Hawks Talon GC) and Big Latto (Hawks Talon GC), Boston Celtics President Rich Gotham (CLTX Crossover Gaming), seven-time NBA Champion Robert Horry (Lakers Gaming), and more. Scott Cole will return to host the Draft alongside color commentator, esports host and broadcaster Malik Forte, NBA 2K League sideline reporter Autumn Johnson and sports host Ms.Basketball, who will serve as the Virtual VIP Lounge host.

Super League Gaming picked up game livestreaming platform Mobcrush. Mobcrush’s influencers stream 2 million hours of original content a year and can distribute its streams to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

CBS and Turner released their list of ten announce crews covering March Madness which begins next week. We haven’t had an NCAA Tournament in a couple seasons. The announce teams have changed. See the interesting notes and reviews.
CBS/Turner announce 10 game crews for March Madness; New personnel and changes listed

Bob Costas provides a perspective on the historic fight 50 years ago, “The Fight of the Century,” Ali-Frazier I at Madison Square Garden. Broadcaster Tim Ryan said the extravaganza was “a heavyweight title fight, a Broadway Opening and Oscar Night,” all under one roof.
Ali-Frazier I, 50 years ago, was tinged with emotion and contrasting racial views; Bob Costas remembers

Joe Tait, from my perspective, was the best all-time NBA radio announcer. He was the Voice of the Cavs for 39 seasons. Joe painted a picture that was graphic and gripping. His obit includes a detailed bio.
Joe Tait, iconic Voice of the Cavaliers, passes at 83; Arguably the NBA’s greatest radio voice ever

Josh Lewin, who for years did sports for FOX and worked for a handful of baseball teams is profiled. A really fun interview with a colorful guy.
Talented Josh Lewin quotes Marvin Gaye on remote broadcasts: “Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.”

Happy Birthday and many wonderful returns:

Matt Millen, 3/12 FOX Sports
Steve Levy, 3/12 ESPN, NFL
Dave Wills, 3/13 Tampa Bay Rays, radio
John Murphy, 3/14 Buffalo Bills, radio
Mary Carillo, 3/15 NBC Sports, tennis
Bud Ley, 3/16 ESPN, retired
Charlie Slowes, 3/16 Washington Nats, radio
Lynn Swann, 3/17 ABC, NFL, retired
Tracy Wolfson, 3/17 CBS Sports, reporter

Sports Broadcast Journal

MAR 23-24 | A Virtual Experience on the Business of Collegiate Esports
Sponsors/Partners: CSMG / Skullz / Beat the Bomb

>Hear keynotes from former NFL All-Pro & College Esports Coach, Ahman Green; & WCC’s Commissioner, Gloria Nevarez
>Join a fireside chat with Gillette + HBCU Esports Alliance
>Gain exclusive insights from Streamhatchet’s research
>Get a crash course during 4hrs of workshop presentations/panels
>Celebrate Hall of Famers Kurt Melcher (Intersport) & Duran Parsi (FACEIT)
>And more


On this Day
1987: David Robinson scored 50 points in an NCAA basketball game.

The Spurs drafted David Robinson from which NCAA team? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Who is known as the “king of cricket”? Answer: Viral Kohli. Kudos: Avi Mangar-TV One/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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