The following is a guest post by Chris Jones.
Count another bastion of major network television among the endangered species. CBS and Turner Sports recently announced that TBS will broadcast the NCAA men’s basketball tournament semifinal games in 2014 and 2015. The Final Four always had been broadcast on major network television prior to the latest agreement.
The Final Four joins “Monday Night Football” and the college football bowl system (minus one game in 2012) that have made the transition to cable (or satellite) television. According to Sports Illustrated, cable subscription fees are the underlying factor that several major sporting events are cutting ties with the Big Four television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox). Those over-the-air networks don’t charge viewers broadcast fees.
For college basketball die-hards like me, there is no event quite like the NCAA Men's Final Four.
This year's event takes place in New Orleans and will feature some of the top programs in the country. One of the most intriguing match-ups in recent Final Four memory will be the Kentucky-Louisville game where there is no love lost between the in-state rivals and their head coaches. Nearly 1/3 of all Final Four tickets sold on the TicketNetwork Exchange have been purchased by customers from the Bluegrass State—more than any other state.
The other game, between Ohio State and Kansas, will also be a must-see, featuring two of the top players in the country.
Before you watch the games this weekend, check out our Final Four preview below:
Kentucky – This is the second consecutive Final Four for the Wildcats; they lost last year to eventual National Champion UConn Huskies. Just like last year, UK is the prohibitive favorite to win the tournament and give the school its first championship since 1998 and head coach John Calipari's first title.