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What Does CBS Sports Takeover of CSTV Operations Mean?

Friday, January 4, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:00 AM, under , , , ,

Athens, GA (Jan 4, 2007) - Newsday's Neil Best, on his Watchdog blog, made a short entry last night that CBS Sports is taking over day-to-day operations of CSTV. This made Eye on Sports Media curious, as the cultures of the two networks are so different.

Even though CSTV has been owned by CBS Sports since 2005, it has been run as an entirely separate entity. CBS Sports has always been about the blue blazer and the ties, while CSTV has been about blue jeans and an open shirt. CBS Sports is about the corporate trappings of their headquarters at "Black Rock", while CSTV is about their offices down on Chelsea Pier.

CSTV SEC Tailgate Show Set
Guest Analyst Matt Stinchcomb, Analyst David Pollack, and Host Greg Amsinger prepare for the broadcast of the CSTV produced Chick-fil-A SEC Tailgate Show from Athens, GA in November 2007.
Photograph Copyright 2007 by Christopher Byrne/Eye on Sports Media. All Rights Reserved.

"Yes, we have very different audiences and outlets and approach," said LeslieAnne Wade, Senior Vice-President of Communications for CBS Sports, said in a conversation with Eye on Sports Media this morning. So I asked her how this would play out.

"We are absorbing their staff, but they will be keeping their offices and facilities down at Chelsea Pier. In the past we have done our projects and productions separately, but now there will be more collaboration and possibly crossing over," said Wade. "There have been discussions about doing this since we bought CSTV in 2005, and we have now decided to move forward with it."

During our conversation, I told her that I had worked my first event for CSTV this past fall, after doing events for CBS Sports for 25+ years. The reason I brought it up was, as I told her, was that it felt very different working a CSTV event than it did working for CBS Sports. She asked me why that was.

It is hard to put my finger on exactly why. Perhaps it seemed that even though CSTV was doing a pre-game show, it felt a lot less like a sports production and more like a non-sports show. I cannot remember the last time I worked a regular season game or pre-game show where a make-up artist was brought in for the talent. It could be that 25+ years of doing events and shows for the networks had me set in my ways of what a broadcast should look and feel like (yes I am sounding like an old codger with that statement). Maybe it was because the show was not crewed by CBS directly, but through a second and third party (yes two layers). Possibly it could be all of the above.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how this takeover in operations will work in practice and what the ultimate end product will look like. At least it is not like the ESPN takeover of ABC Sports operations, and it is the free, over-the-air broadcast network going the other direction. This can only be good for sports fans.

Related Links

Neil Best: CBS Sports to take over day-to-day CSTV operations

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