Marv Albert, Charles Barkley on NCAAs
I've been leading a double life this autumn, alternating between football and media writing. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The basement was getting kind of cold and depressing anyway.
Hence my presence at the Giants' facility today - where I taped my first "Giants Online" appearance in five years - one day after attending the Sports Business Journal's 12th annual Media and Technology Conference in Manhattan.
The highlight of the SBJ event was a Q&A with CBS Sports president Sean McManus and Turner Sports president David Levy at which the 2011 NCAA Tournament was discussed.
The event as we have known it will be completely transformed by the partnership between the companies, most significantly in that every game will be seen in its entirety on CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV.
Yup, it's true: No more yelling at the screen imploring CBS to switch to a better game, which used to be one of the charms of the event but eventually became an anachronistic annoyance.
"The viewer has the opportunity to be what we used to be, which is the producer," McManus said.
The other big change will be in the announcers. The familiar CBS voices, such as Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Gus Johnson, will be on the job. But so will Turner's NBA stars, including play-by-play man Marv Albert, analysts Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller and studio fixtures Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.
"It's the '27 Yankees," Levy said of the roster.
To "send a message," as Levy put it, about the full integration of the staffs, Nantz will be on TruTV (formerly Court TV) to call the very first game on the Tuesday after Selection Sunday as part of the expanded first round of the 68-team field.
The executives did not detail the announcing plans beyond that, but it's a pretty good bet that Albert will call one of the four regional finals, and that Barkley will be on site at the Final Four, even though both of those events are on CBS.
CBS will get first dibs on the games in each window in the first three rounds, but divvying up the available slots will be a complex process that will be sorted out after the field is set Sunday night.