The reorganization and integration of CSTV into CBS Sports has taken place. Beginning next month, viewers will begin to see the first glimpses of the new look and programming from the service under the CBS College Sports Network banner.
Tony Petitti, executive vice president and executive producer of CBS Sports, who last month succeeded CSTV founder Brian Bedol in overseeing the company on a daily basis, said it made sense to make those plays when the nation enters into the realm of college basketball’s "March Madness."
“It’s certainly an important time of the year for college sports and a good way to raise the profile of CBS College Sports Network,” said Petitti.
It also doesn’t hurt that CBS Sports, which acquired CSTV for $325 million in November 2005, is the rights-holder and broadcast home to the Division 1 men’s tournament. Through a sub-licensing deal, the tourney can also be viewed on DirecTV’s Mega March Madness out-of-market, pay-per-view package and online via March Madness on Demand, powered by CBSSports.com
Although it won’t host any games, the 25-million subscriber CBS College Sports Network, Petitti said, will feature plenty of tournament programming, tipping around a “March Madness Central” motif.
“CBS College Sports Network will be the place for 24/7 information about the tournament,” he said, noting that viewers should look for live shows from San Antonio and the Alamadome, the site of this year’s Final Four on April 5-7.
The network, which issued pink slips Wednesday to about 40 former CSTV staffers in programming, production, ad sales and new media, is also readying a twice nightly news and information show called College Sports Now.
Although schedule has not been set in stone, College Sports Now could air at 7 p.m. and then perhaps at 10:30 or 11 p.m. With the latter figuring to recap and analyze results, the earlier show, in addition to serving as a preview for the night’s lineup, also will contain a significant review element.
“Most college sports, whether soccer or baseball, take place during the day,” Petitti pointed out.
With the College World Series extending into June, Petitti said July is really the only month when there really aren’t games or much on-campus athletic activity. At those times, CBS College Sports Network figures to adjust the frequency of College Sports Now.
Things heat right back up again the next month, though. “When we get to August, there’s plenty of action with teams getting ready for football and all the other fall sports,” he said.
As to the rebranding efforts, Petitti said viewers will begin to see the new graphics and on-air looks around the time of the basketball tournament selection show, scheduled for March 16 on CBS, and in the months ahead.
“CBS Sports didn’t do college baseball or college lacrosse, so we have to come up with graphics that play off of the new look,” he said. “I’m looking at logo sheets all the time these days.”