Jim Nantz has seen his share of magical moments and sendoffs during a career that has spanned nearly 40 years. He could get one of his own as he prepares to call his final NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Not only is the Final Four in Nantz’s adopted hometown of Houston, but with the University of Houston as one of the top seeds, Nantz could get to call his alma mater playing for a national title. (Erin Hooley/AP).
Jim Nantz has been a part of the CBS coverage of the tournament since 1986. He was the studio host for five years before calling his first Final Four in 1991. The 63-year old Nantz will remain the lead voice of the network’s NFL coverage, along with leading its golf team. Successor Ian Eagle has been with CBS since 1998.
Heading into the last weekend of NCAA’s “March Madness,” the Men’s College Basketball tournament, CBS/Turner network airings have seen a massive 24% rise in viewership versus a year ago for an average game — to a Nielsen-measured 3.87 million viewers. But the games are still 3% lower than the 2019 pre-pandemic tournament, which averaged 4.0 million viewers.
Fishman will direct the TBS coverage of Saturday’s national semifinals and Monday night’s title game. Fishman, along with the top team of Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson, have done all of Duke’s games so far. Not many people might know who Fishman is, but he has directed some of the most memorable events on CBS Sports since moving from the news division in 1975.
Advertisers and their buying agencies have come to see the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as a viable alternative and better value than the Super Bowl, getting multiple spots for the same major payout. Agency executives are already planning negotiations for next year’s tournament at the spring upfronts.
After the timing of the coronavirus pandemic upended the NCAA tournament last season, the NCAA is taking steps to make sure it will be played in 2021. The NCAA is moving its men’s basketball tournament from the usual multi-city format to a single-site location in an effort to safely conduct the event that crowns the season’s Division I national champion, the organization said Monday.
ViacomCBS could see a $350 million hit this quarter on the cancellation of the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, says one media analyst. David Miller from Imperial Capital has cut earnings forecasts for the company and his price target for the stock, which is down 16% Wednesday.
The fallout from Thursday’s coronavirus-driven cancellation of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Tournament will be over $1 billion in ad revenue for CBS and Turner Sports. “There’s no bad guy here,” said one expert, but remedies will almost certainly have to be created.
There will be no madness this March after the NCAA on Thursday said the college tournament was canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak. The news came shortly after the AAC, SEC and Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 Tournaments were canceled.
CBS Sports and Turner Sports say Nielsen ratings for the entire tournament are up 8% from last year at 6.7, heading into Saturday’s Final Four.
Local TV stations ramp up the coverage of March Madness to share the excitement, the drama and the human interest stories beyond the scores. “That’s really all people are talking about, especially in March,” said Russ Poteet, news director for KLBK in Lubbock, Texas, home of Texas Tech.
CBS and the three Turner networks — TNT, TBS and TruTV — have sold 95% of the ad inventory in the 67 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament games at a cost-per-thousand 5% to 6% higher than last year. Advertisers love the tournament and the nets love to offer it. While neither CBS nor Turner executives will comment on how much total advertising the three weeks of televised games brings in, it will likely top $1 billion.