Note to the basic television networks: If you actually want us to watch you, especially for some of your major broadcasts, then, stop letting the cable channels have such a major role in your main broadcasts, particularly your uniquely special limited edition broadcasts that are huge ratings and money grabbers for you!
I already brought this up in a roundabout way when detailing NBC's lackluster Olympic coverage, and how they literally just gave the Olympics and put it on cable, which in of itself is fine, but was a huge mis-management of the use of NBC, especially since people who don't have cable or care to download things off the internet, or it might not be the best thing to do, were basically screwed out of, literally the Olympics, limited their main coverage, not only to tape delays in primetime, which is bad enough, but still left plenty of room and time on the supposed "Olympic Network" to show, the Olympics instead of relegating the majority of Olympics to cable. The link to that post is below.
Well now, I'm gonna make a very similar complaint, this time to CBS, for their coverage of "March Madness", the annual NCAA College Basketball tournament, to determine the best team in the land. It's a major sporting event during the year. Here in Vegas for instance, it's second to the Super Bowl at sportsbooks in terms of people making bets and the books making money, and that's not including the numerous office and other pools of those infamous tournament brackets that we all make, trying to predict the winner of the
Now, while you can relatively easily get all the games on the internet if you want, and it's been that way for awhile, what CBS has been doing is broadcasting all of the games on TV, as opposed to us getting geographically-zoned games during the tournament, like, the way, say the NFL regular season schedule, and use TNT, TBS and, I guess because of a lack of other reasonable cable options, TruTV, to show the all the games. Now, this started a couple years ago, after Turner Sports snuck into a deal, along with CBS for them to both cover March Madness until 2024! Now, business considerations aside, the idea of this, is of course so that, we the audience can have full control, assuming you have a decent computer or cable, of watching any of the games on TV. Now, other than the fact that a good portion of the population is still getting screwed out of this deal (And btw, it's a lot bigger than people think. There's a reason we need to raise the minimum wage, not as many people have good internet connection or even good cable as people think. That's why Redbox is strangely competitive to Netflix, so there's a market that's not getting all this.) actually, I don't really have an issue with that. In fact, years ago, when I had a better and cheaper version of Cox cable than I do now, Cox Communications being the major cable subscriber in the Southern Nevada area, something they did in collusion with our local CBS affiliate, was actually give Cox subscribers all the games, for free! Yeah, I don't know how many others had this option, but it used to be they'd set aside three extra blank channels during the weekend, and we'd get the option of watching all the other broadcasts on Cox, on like a 300 channel or something. (This was back when that was a high amount of cable channels for anyone to have btw.) And I took advantage of that btw, especially since, other than UNLV, most of my favorite college teams are back east, like the Big 5 in Philadelphia for instance, like Temple, Villanova, St. Joe's, etc., and a few others scattered through the Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania-Jersey area, I got the option of seeing those games, and I'm okay with that option.
Keyword there is "Option", 'cause here's the funny thing, I never needed that option before, to feel like I was experiencing the entire NCAA tournament. It helped, it also helped that, if those games were on during school hours, somehow my high school, which usually shared about one TV per hallway, would suddenly have a TV in every room turned to the game, (I still have no idea where and/or how all those extra TVs popped up) but also, because, when a game that say, wasn't exactly the one that I was already watching, would suddenly get exciting late, CBS, would simply switch over and show us that game at the waning or exciting moments. We still had all those damn scores on the top of the screen to keep an eye on the other ones, and occasionally, if there were two games getting good at the same time, oh baby, the network switched back-and-forth between them, sometimes rapid fire, depending on the game! I remember multiple overlapping overtime games and watching both of them at once, and I remember that CBS's coverage wouldn't end until the very last game ended that day. I never used to miss anything, anything really memorable or important anyway. I didn't need to see those 101-47 1 vs 16 blowouts, so if I had that game, there was a different one, closer and more exciting instead. Or if the game was at halftime, they wouldn't have a halftime report, they'd just go to another game. There's plenty of time later to go over what we just saw and analyze it, there's a exciting thing on now, and this was, a whole 4-day weekend of this, and then a little less the next weekend, but there was fewer games so that was expected, and eventually, we wouldn't need to keep switching 'cause there was only a few games on, and they can split them up time-wise to show all of them in their entirety on CBS. It was a great setup; it's still a great setup, and yes, hypothetically, with the correct media, you can switch the channels to the more exciting game on your own now, I certainly did back then, although those games switched on their own too to the exciting games, and if the regular game got exciting again, it'd be switched.
What I fundamentally don't understand now, is why exactly does CBS, not do that, now? 'Cause now, we get updates. You know, if there's another Valparaiso ending or some other Cinderella winning with some miracle finishes on TruTV...-? I mean, Viacom who owns CBS; they're already working closely with the other networks to get the deal to begin with, why doesn't the CBS game, just switch itself, it there's something else exciting on? I mean, that was the best part of March Madness, we got to see all the madness! Now, I'm lucky if I happen to see one or two decent games over a three-week span?! I'm not lazy; I'll use the remote and switch the damn channel myself, but wtf, not everyone has that option, and why wouldn't you simply switch the game to the main network that everyone has? There's no reason you have to keep it on another channel, there's no reason not to keep switching back and forth, why, why would you stop doing that? This is when I suddenly lost all the excitement I once had for March Madness. Suddenly, we got robbed of it, because they put the majority of their games on cable, and worse than that really, they just leave them there. They lost the ability to go, "Look at this for a minute, this could be a 'Remember when?' moment coming up here!" It's made March Madness, less special than it ever has been. I'm sure the reason for this shift in approach is part-contractually. The networks compete heavily for sports events contracts, and sometimes they often voluntarily sacrifice what they'd consider more preferable options, in regards to their broadcasting, in order to get the games. There's NFL stipulations with FOX and CBS's contracts regarding how long they can show and out of area game outside of it's designated area for instance, and I'm sure that pisses off those networks; (And the fact that NBC basically has an NFL contract giving them anything they want, I'm sure pisses off those two networks too.) maybe that's part of the deal here but it sucks if it is.
And you know, worst than that, consider my original note to network TV which is across the board in popularity bottoming out at an all-time low, and frankly, the only thing on television that is guaranteed to get blockbuster ratings are major sporting events anymore; so then, why would you pass off the ratings, to a cable channel? Yeah, granted, 6 companies own basically all of television or whatever the hell the stat is, I get that; but still, it's the major network. Okay, so they had the priced jacked up because ESPN/ABC was doubling down with their own deal, but still, it's CBS that's the premiere network; they've got the most money in, they're holding, advertising and publicizing the event, often-the-case, this is a year-round advertisement for the one damn event, which they are already paying for the rights to broadcast, (and CBS pays big for this tournament; they've held it about as long a I've been alive I think, so they're devoted to this; it's apart of their brand and identity at this point...)- I mean, I don't get it, what's a basketball game's ratings gonna go that would help TruTV so dramatically, or permanently alter or inspire their audience numbers, that it would do better on and make more money, by making a late call when needed, and moving it to CBS? Am I missing something here? TNT, TBS, they have audience that have been built around sports to some extent for years, there's some layover audience there already, but nobody's gonna be swayed to watch TruTV regularly because they have a basketball game on one day, especially when we know it's an anomaly and not permanent. Again, you can easily put it on CBS when, the game, may accidentally be interesting. Take money out of it; (And even then, there's a decent chance that if they really wanted to, they CBS could've put all their eggs into this basket) I don't get it; I barely get it putting on the other channels, and what if it does backfire, and suddenly the cable channel starts getting a boost in ratings that can alter the CBS landscape. Yeah, they're #1 now, and that's only ranking basic networks against each other,- I mean, cable is competition whether they think it is or not.
It makes the broadcast worst than it was before, (And CBS makes it worse unnecessarily), the money won't be as much on cable as compared to basic; it's a bigger and more important event that'd you want to put on your most high-profile flagship channel, and the ratings could be huge, forcing companies to pay more for airtime, which is much more expensive on network than cable by the way, so they could spread it out to their cable programs anyway, possibly moreso, because keeping it on CBS, will jack up the ratings higher instead of spreading them out. They're basically giving up ratings and money to have this deal! (Shows how big these sporting events can be; imagine if they had the exclusivity just how much higher their #1 ratings could be!)
I mean, just because you have the option of using your cable channels also, doesn't mean you need to use them to have a great March Madness. In anything, that one shining moment, feels less special than ever before. (I know, I'm sure you were expecting that pun, but...)