Selection Sunday kicked off NCAA March Madness 2016, and as we make our bracket predictions, we’re also on the road supporting Turner and CBS with a custom graphics package and technology we provided for this year’s tournament broadcasts and studio shows.
From the project’s onset, we wanted to create an updated graphics package to guide fans through the entire three-week tournament, one that would stand out from the work we’d done for the tournament the previous five years. We’re excited to see it launch this week, as we think there’s a lot for fans to look forward to.
Overall, viewers will notice a new industrial design, which we developed in collaboration with Turner, CBS and King and Country. We also built the score bar larger than previous years, as we’ve found over the years that a lot of March Madness fans pull out their phones and tablets regularly throughout the workday to check scores. To spruce up graphics transitions, our team added swooping effects and overhauled the original brackets system.
New video boxes are also available to graphics operators this year, so they can highlight pivotal moments of games airing on other channels during time-outs. A series of lower thirds, full screens featuring starting lineups and player profiles, half screens, promos for upcoming games, along with other graphics round out the package. Team Stream – which relies on a combination of RCS templates, Spredfast social software and Vizrt’s Social TV – will also return this year to TNT and truTV for the Final Four, so fans can watch real-time Tweets, Vines, Instagram videos and polls.
Throughout the various stages of the project we worked with the creative services, operation, engineering and programming teams at CBS and Turner to ensure a smooth, optimized graphics production and data integration pipeline between CBS, TruTV, TBS and TNT, and across CBS’ New York studio, Turner’s Atlanta studio and more than nine remote locations for the first week of games all the way through to the National Championship game in Houston. Before the tournament began, we’d developed more than 230 unique templates, as well as custom software and interface graphics scripts. We also trained each studio’s graphics operators ahead of Selection Sunday to enable seamless transitions between the graphics and scores and stats updates.
Don’t forget to fill out your brackets and check out the First Four on truTV on March 16 for a preview of the work. First-round tip-offs begin March 17 and 18 on truTV, CBS, TBS and TNT, and the National Championship game is set to air on TBS April 5, marking the first time in NCAA history it will be broadcast on cable. For a full tournament schedule broken down by network, visit NCAA’s website.