In case you needed more proof that the television habits of Americans are changing, the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four could follow in the footsteps of college football’s BCS bowls and move to cable.
The move could come as early as next spring.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Turner and CBS — who partner to air the NCAA Tournament — are discussing an arrangement that would give Turner’s TNT, TBS, and TruTV properties the opportunity to air the late-round games. Currently, the Turner outlets handle early-round games alongside CBS.
Turner wants to grab the Final Four quickly because its parent company — Time Warner — is about to enter into a new round of negotiations with cable and satellite providers. Having the NCAA’s Final Four would give Turner and Time Warner quite a bit of leverage in those negotiations.
Jim Nantz has broadcast the Final Four for 28 years in a row now. But if Turner takes over, Marv Albert — or someone else — could be handed the play-by-play duties.
This year’s NCAA Tournament ratings have been the highest in nearly two decades.