Local TV stations ramp up the coverage of March Madness to share the excitement, the drama and the human interest stories beyond the scores. “That’s really all people are talking about, especially in March,” said Russ Poteet, news director for KLBK in Lubbock, Texas, home of Texas Tech.
Sports fans love the simple concept of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness.
Sixty-four basketball teams from colleges and universities in TV markets around the country battle it out to see who will be the national champion. You win, you go on. You lose, you go home.
And TV stations ramp up the coverage to share the excitement, the drama, the human interest stories beyond the scores, ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat’ as the saying goes, of the schools from their area.
Schools you know like Duke, Louisville and Villanova are in it, while others that are not so familiar join the fray this year.
Like Wofford College, for example. Wofford is a private, independent liberal arts college in Spartanburg, S.C., and it’s only its fifth appearance in the Big Dance.
“It’s the proverbial Cinderella story,” said Kirk Varner, news director for Nexstar’s WSPA, the CBS affiliate in Spartanburg.
Varner said Wofford is “in our backyard, and we’ve been tracking their season. So Wofford’s story is really our story.”
Varner is sending its weekend sports anchor, Todd Summers, to travel with the team to Jacksonville, where the Wofford Terriers will play against Seton Hall tomorrow.
Summers will be part of a team put together by Nexstar, which is coordinating how its stations are going to the different sites of the tournaments around the country.
It’s a bit of a logistical challenge providing cohesive crews for the different sites, especially arranging and executing reporters’ live shots back to the stations. Many reporters, many live shots, many newscasts that air at the same time. Not easy.
But in WSPA’s case, Varner gets what March Madness can be about in Wofford’s case.
“It’s the story of how one small college can be equal to the major powers like Duke, and North Carolina because they got in the tournament.”
Although the Texas Tech Red Raiders have been in the NCAA tournament 16 times, including this year, it doesn’t dampen the excitement the team is generating in their home town of Lubbock, Texas.
“It’s the talk of the town,” said Russ Poteet, the news director for KBLK and KAMC, Nexstar’s CBS and ABC duopoly in Lubbock.
Poteet is sending the sports director for both stations, Paul Tubbs from KBLK and David Collier from KMAC, to Tulsa where Tech will play Northern Kentucky on Friday.
“There’s a lot of excitement in Lubbock about Tech basketball,” said Poteet. “That’s really all people are talking about, especially in March.”
NOTE: The 2019 March Madness TV games will air on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.
Click here to view the entire March Madness schedule including times and networks to watch the games.
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