The Loop

Why the college game delayed Sunday telecast of AT&T

February 13, 2012

There apparently was no shortage of ire at CBS Sports for its telecast of the Illinois-Michigan basketball game running long and delaying the scheduled start time of its coverage of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by about 18 minutes on Sunday. provided a sampling from Twitter.

The Sunday college basketball game running long seems to be a recurring issue on CBS, one exacerbated on Sunday by the audience anticipation of a Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods pairing.

The question is why this happens. We posed it to CBS Sports vice president communications Jen Sabatelle.

"We have a two-hour window for the basketball game," she said. "We can't control the length of the basketball games. We still had over three hours of coverage of golf."

Another issue raised is the existence of a half-hour gap between the end of Golf Channel's telecast of the tournament to the scheduled start of CBS Sports' telecast.

"It's not like we're trying to short-change the viewer," Golf Channel senior director of public relations Dan Higgins said. "We have very specific rights on the weekends, especially when CBS produces the tournament, what our window is. Our rights are only between that 1 and 2:30 (p.m. EST) time frame. That's all we get."

Sabatelle said that half-hour is necessary to prepare the transition from Golf Channel to CBS.

CBS' telecast of the final round, incidentally, was the highest rated final round of the AT&T since 1997 and its average overnight household rating/share of 5.1/10 was up 96 percent over a year ago.

-- John Strege