For this year’s Final Four, Turner Sports is branding its team streams with the Bleacher Report banner.
As was the case last year, TBS, TNT and truTV will combine to televise the national semifinals of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, offering viewers three distinctive feeds. This time, though, Turner is brandishing a marketing assist for one of its key digital properties.
While TBS, tipping at 6 p.m. on April 4 from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, will feature the main telecast of the Final Four matchups with commentary by Jim Nantz, analysts Grant Hill and Bill Raftery and reporter Tracy Wolfson, TNT and truTV will feature team-specific telecasts under the “Team Stream Presented by Bleacher Report.”
Last year, the teamcasts help Turner dunk the two largest college basketball audiences in cable history.
The “Team Stream Presented by Bleacher Report” coverage will reflect four independently produced telecasts – two apiece airing on TNT and truTV – with all aspects of the presentation trained on the schools participating in the semifinals.
This year’s coverage will also include an increased amount of integrated elements between the on-air presentation and Bleacher Report to further enhance the fan experience across all platforms.
Among the components:
*Comprehensive team and player storylines;
*Custom graphics, music and show packaging;
* Additional cameras capturing team content and school-specific replays; and
* Halftime shows focused on each team with feature stories on each individual school.
“Associating our team-specific coverage of the NCAA Final Four on TNT and truTV with Bleacher Report is a natural evolution given the popularity of Bleacher Report and its industry-leading ability to connect with fans at the teams and topics level,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports. “We believe combining our on-air treatment with our leading digital assets will offer fans an even better experience across all platforms.”
Fans can also access live streaming coverage of the three distinct presentations for each Final Four game via NCAA March Madness Live.
Authenticated users can access the action streaming through the Watch TNT, Watch TBS and Watch truTV apps and via www.tntdrama.com/watchtnt, www.tbs.com/watchtbs and www.trutv.com/live by logging in with the user name and password provided by their TV service provider.
During its first year presenting the Final Four matchups, Turner scored a 6.9 rating (8.2 cable) and 11.7 million watchers for the UConn-Florida opener, while the Kentucky-Wisconsin nightcap drew a 9.2 rating (11.0 cable) and 16.3 million watchers for the Wildcats last-second win.
A breakdown showed that Wisconsin-Kentucky tallied 10.4 million viewers on TBS, with 4.3 million for the UK teamcast on TNT and 1.56 million espying the Badgers' vantage on truTV.
As for the first game, the count was 7.09 million on TBS, 3.7 million on TNT for Gators fans and 851,000 for Huskies’ supporters on truTV.
At this year's NCAA Media Day in Manhattan, Turner Broadcasting System president David Levy said there would be marketing around the flanking telecasts. Along those lines, Turner plans to run general message ads about the availability of the team streams during the upcoming Sweet 16 and Elite Eight coverage that will ultimately determine the Final Four combatants.
Once the matchups have been set, the programmer's on-air and digital platform messaging will become more specific. It will also flank those efforts by targeting fans of the respective teams via digital and social platforms, as well as in-maket through MSO and other distributors.