After the BCS Megacast at ESPN, the next highest profile experiment in the alternative broadcast space was Turner Sports’ Final Four coverage. Last year the network debuted the concept of the “Teamcast” where fans could watch what amounted to a hometown call of the game for all four of the respective teams during the national semifinals.
For instance, that meant a Florida channel and a Connecticut channel for one game and a Wisconsin channel and a Kentucky channel for the other. Both those feeds supplemented the traditional national feed that played the game straight down the middle.
As revealed in an interview at SI.com about the new Final Four announcing team of Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, and Grant Hill – Turner and CBS confirmed the Teamcast was making its return in 2015.
Daniels said CBS and Turner will once again offer two additional telecasts for the Final Four national semifinal games. The “Teamcasts” of the semifinals will air simultaneously with the national game and offer team-specific presentations (with separate production crews) tailored to each of the schools competing in the semis. These “Teamcasts” will feature custom music, custom graphics, team-specific replays and additional cameras geared toward one team. They will also feature broadcasters who have been hired specifically to appeal to that fan base and be encouraged by Turner and CBS to be over-the-top homers for those schools.
“This makes a lot of sense for us because there are people in love with their teams,” Daniels said. “We want to keep evolving television to what viewers want to hear and listen to and this is a way to allow people to do that.”
One further note that’s quite intriguing – Turner admits they have to promote the Teamcast concept much better this time around:
Daniels did say that Turner and CBS must do a better job of promoting which channel the Teamcasts will air (which has not yet been determined). Last year there were plenty of confused people on social media wondering where the regular broadcast was versus the Teamcasts.
That’s quite true. Last year social media was a bit of a disaster with confused college basketball fans angrily tweeting about biased telecasts, blissfully ignorant or unaware of what was going on. It led Charles Barkley to go on this memorable rant calling those fans idiots:
What I’d advise Turner to do: have a scroll at the bottom of the screen that tells fans which telecast their watching and what feeds they can find on the other channels. Also, there should be a bit of a better outlined mission and purpose for what the teamcasts are actually there to do. Last year some of the broadcasts called it more down the middle, others were more enthusiastic, there were different approaches to different feeds. Where’s the proper balance between Hawk Harrelson and Len Kasper? Or does there need to be one?
The biggest challenge this year, like last year, will be finding the announcing teams on just one or two weeks notice. Again, last year’s cobbled together broadcast crews produced a mixed bag.
The teamcast is a decent idea, but perhaps not the revolutionary force the BCS Megacast seems to be. If you’re a fan of one of the teams involved, it’ll be great. If you’re desiring a novelty act, then so be it. But honestly, why would you want to watch a teamcast channel when you could watch Bill Raftery call his first televised Final Four? I don’t know a college basketball fan alive that would turn down that opportunity.