Fans looking to tune into the March Madness Selection Show will have a bit of an adjustment as the show will be on TBS not CBS. The show kicks off at 6 p.m. Eastern on TBS with Greg Gumbel, Ernie Johnson, Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley, Seth Davis and Kenny Smith all breaking down the bracket.
When will the bracket be announced? After receiving a lot of backlash from the delayed 2016 bracket reveal, CBS opted to reveal the bracket within the first few minutes of the broadcast in 2017. Fans can expect something similar today as Sports Illustrated detailed.
A network source said all 68 teams and full brackets are expected to be unveiled over the first half of the show.
There is expected to be a slight tweak to the format as the teams and seedings will be announced before the actual bracket. Awful Announcing explained the slight change in the order of the bracket announcement.
…the full 68-team tournament field will be announced at the top of the broadcast, with the seedings, regions and bracket drawn out over the next half hour or so. In the past, the field has been announced along with the full bracket…In a way, TBS is giving fans (some of) what they want by spitting out the field right at the start of the show. They will no longer need to wait an hour to find out which bubble teams made the dance. But in another way, the network could be simply adding a layer of torture to the drawn-out reveal by teasing the teams without announcing their seedings. The system risks calling attention to how long fans must wait before getting what they really crave: the bracket.
In keeping with past years, Selection Sunday features a partnership between Turner Sports’ Inside the NBA crew and CBS Sports college basketball analysts. The show will be two hours in length, and is broadcast live from Atlanta.
Why is the Selection Show on TBS rather than CBS? According to Sports Illustrated, the rights deal allows the network that broadcasts the Final Four and championship game the option of also airing the Selection Show. Next year, the Selection Show will go back to airing on CBS.
As sports fans continue to consume information differently, ratings for Selection Sunday have declined over the last two years. With the show moving off network television for the first time in over three decades, executives can expect more of the same this year. Sports Business Daily ratings editor Austin Karp explained to Sports Illustrated why we could see a low in ratings for the 2018 Selection Show.
“I imagine it’s going to be another all-time low viewership figure for the telecast,” Karp told Sports Illustrated. “First, it’s moving to TBS for the first time. People have expected it on CBS for decades. Second, the show has set a record low the last two years on CBS anyway—strong headwinds there for Turner. I’m just not sure the Selection Show has as much appeal to the casual fan as it did years ago. The avidity for the actual tournament is still there, but casual fans don’t necessarily need a long reveal show in this day and age. People just want to start filling out brackets.”