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Sunday, March 13, 2011

CBS Sports

CBS Sports Turns NCAA Tournament into Child’s Play.

My 9-year-old daughter isn’t exactly the biggest sports fan in the world. But I plan on making her watch the NCAA tournament with me. At least the early rounds, thanks to the tournament’s new broadcast setup. Traditionally, CBS has televised the entire tournament from start to finish which is quite an undertaking — especially during the first round of the tournament when there are a grand total of 32 different games — 16 on Thursday and 16 on Friday.

But this year, there will be four separate networks broadcasting that first round: CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV. In years prior, CBS would toggle the viewers between games, meaning they would switch from one to another if there was a blowout, or whenever something compelling was happening with a specific game. But now, the job of toggling will no longer belong to CBS execs. It’ll belong to the viewer. And that’s where my daughter will come in handy.

I’m very excited for the new setup. It’ll be way better than the old one. It was always frustrating when CBS would cutaway to another game if you were a big-time fan of one of the teams playing in the game that the network suddenly dissed without warning. In recent years, there’s been a solution for that — watching your game of choice on line. But regardless of connection speed, the feeds were usually a bit jerky. Plus, there’s no substitute to watching a game on TV.

Still, as annoying as the cutaways could be, I always thought CBS did a pretty good job with them. Thanks to them, you felt as if you’d seen every single one of the 32 games in the first round by doing nothing other than sitting on your sofa for a couple of days. Now, to get that same feeling, you’ll have to become a master of the toggle.

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