Big Ten Network will be tweaking its men’s basketball tournament coverage. According to the Chicago Tribune, BTN confirmed that its studio show would not be broadcast on site from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis next week. Instead, the show will air from its Chicago studios, as it typically does during the football and basketball seasons.
A year ago, the network’s studio show emanated from Chicago’s United Center during the tournament. That won’t be happening this time around, thanks to the network being overcautious about the concerns presented by the coronavirus. However, the usual slate of game personnel will be in attendance for the games, and BTN’s studio coverage will remain unchanged aside from the filming location.
The network intends to have a full contingent of announcers, analysts, crew and staff at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the games beginning Wednesday.
But studio personnel are considered nonessential to on-site tournament coverage. One source said the network was acting out of “an abundance of caution.”
BTN’s studio team nevertheless will have a Saturday pregame and postgame program and “The B1G Show” and a Sunday pregame show along with “B1G Basketball & Beyond: Selection Sunday Special.”
All in all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not having the studio crew on-site won’t take all that much away from the viewing experience for fans at home, and I’m wondering if more networks (cough ESPN cough) make similar decisions in the coming days with their conference tournament coverage.