A staple of the men’s Final Four since 2014, CBS will not be utilizing the Team Streams for this year’s Final Four and National Championship Game. Introduced by Turner Sports, the homer calls which allowed fans to hear commentators and analysts associated with their favorite schools, viewers have come to expect them. First airing on the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Final Fours and last year’s National Championship Game, they have led to some initial confusion and some interesting calls.

The Team Stream on TNT and truTV have allowed fans to see alternate feeds of the events with the main call on TBS. But you won’t have that option as the Final Four and National Championship Game return to broadcast TV.

This year, CBS won’t be utilizing the Team Streams. CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus told Sports Illustrated, “We have a slightly different model than Turner does and exclusivity for our stations is important to us,” said McManus. “Our goal is aggregate the largest audience so it’s important to us for the semifinals and final game that we do that on CBS.”

It means that CBS doesn’t want its ratings to be watered down by the Team Streams and will thus keep both the Final Four and National Championship Game on one network this year, CBS.

But before you start firing off an angry tweet, you can rest assured that it will be back next year. Turner Sports President David Levy said, “We think it is innovative and it’s all about innovation and the fan first.” Levy said. “We got great perspective back from consumers who want to see a different perspective. I think it is additive to the overall experience of March Madness.”

So you’ll see it again next year. Just remember when CBS airs the Final Four and National Championship games in odd years, the Team Stream won’t be utilized. They will be on when Turner airs the Final Four and National Championship Game in even years through 2032 when the NCAA’s contract with CBS and Turner Sports expires.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    CBS Sports once again hopelessly behind the curve….when is the last time they innovated anything? The camera above the plate in Skydome in the early 90’s? Otherwise, they just wait for FOX/ESPN/NBC to do it first. Mike Carey, this Lunardi rip-off they have now…..they were also way behind on broadcasting all NFL in HD.

    • Walt_Gekko

      The problem is, they have affiliates who would be massively up in arms if they allowed Turner to put the “team streams” on other channels.

      • Raymond Chuang

        True. But wouldn’t CBS allow the audio of the “team streams” to be available over the Internet, at least through affiliation with someone like Westwood One?

      • Bscotch Bscotch

        CBS has their own cable outlets that could air the team streams w/out involving Turner

        • Walt_Gekko

          CBS does have some, but it still would have affiliates fuming in some cases because the AFFILIATES would lose out on local revenue. What CBS needs to do is to add a DT-3 channel over-the-air (CBSN would be the most logical candidate) and then use the DT-2 Channel (usually Decades) and DT-3 Channel for the team streams.

          • Bscotch Bscotch

            Throw them a couple more minutes of local during the telecasts…..it’s not that hard. Just another example of a lack of forward thinking and not putting the audience first

      • MrSchimpf

        There’s a thing called the SAP channel. Just use that for the team stream broadcasts. Keep the regular video, but you have a choice of audio streams.

        • Walt_Gekko

          The SAP button is generally used for Spanish. I doubt they’d change it.

          • MrSchimpf

            The NCAA generally doesn’t do Spanish audio on SAP so the channel would easily be open for it. SAP is also used for audio description.

  • DrewShervin

    That’s a shame. I will try to sync to radio to avoid listening to Rafferty and Wolfson.

  • Walt_Gekko

    It’s too bad CVS doesn’t have a second alternate digital channel besides Decades (which is generally the DT-2 Channel of your local CBS affiliate), as if they did, then CBS could put the team streams on Decades and whatever the DT-3 channel of your local CBS affiliate is (actually, CBS could make CBSN the DT-3 channel).

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