Perhaps you’ve heard by now, but the CBS-Turner Sports partnership took another step in watering down one of the best events on the sports calendar.
Don’t get me wrong; the relationship hasn’t been a complete disappointment. Being able to watch every NCAA Tournament game live has been a huge plus. Of course, we just have to tolerate watching traditional NBA analysts like Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller and others masquerade and college hoops experts. Their wit and humor (lauded during NBA broadcasts) were widely viewed as a cover for how grossly uninformed they were about the college game.
It’s not entirely their fault (they’re merely collecting a check), but it’s rather unfair to ask a group of NBA analysts to switch gears one month out of the year and analyze NCAA Tournament games. Yes, it may still be basketball – but the comparisons stop there. We’re talking about having to learn about different coaches, various teams, team tendencies, strengths and weaknesses…oh, and of course: player names. Anyone recall Kenny struggling to pronounce Oladipo last March??? I think he settled on “Ola-la-peedo”…
Now comes the news that CBS and Turner are swapping responsibilities for Greg Anthony and Clark Kellogg. Anthony heads to the sidelines to be a color analyst alongside Jim Nantz and Steve Kerr, while Kellogg returns as a studio analyst.
This is another case of money taking precedence over substance. Kellogg had been paired with Nance since replacing Billy Packer in ’08…then (after CBS partnered with Turner Sports) Kerr joined the team. Nantz is in his element as a golf announcer, but is just flat out average on college hoops broadcasts. With Kellogg, you could actually feel passion for the game. He brought life and humor to the broadcasts…and a penchant for creating new vocabulary words (“Spurtability!”). Kerr is a terrific analyst and despite spending most of the year analyzing NBA games, you can tell he actually does his homework before March Madness.
Greg Anthony? He’s been a studio analyst for college broadcasts for a while, so he knows the game…but his energy level is basically on par with Kerr’s. Outside of Turner Sports wanting to get another one of their guys on the sidelines, what other logical explanation is there for the switch? Anthony is pros pro, and certainly knows the college game…but the next NCAA Tournament game he calls will be his first.
It’s all about money. Turner Sports is getting their way in this partnership and The Big Lead even cites a source who says there are people behind the scenes who prefer Marv Albert over Nantz. Oh, and don’t forget, the Final Four is headed to TBS in 2014 and 2015. T-B-S!
It’s not about the best mix of talent, or the best talent, period. It’s about cross-promotion. Turners Sports has their people where they want them. What we’re left with in return are dull broadcasts on the most exhilarating nights of the college hoops season.