Berson: Super Bowl XLVII Coverage Another Step in CBS Sports Network's 'Evolution'

For what David Berson calls “the biggest event on the American sports calendar,” CBS Sports Network is going long with its programming and marketing plans around Super Bowl XLVII.

The CBS Sports executive vice president of CBS Sports Network president said the national cable service will originate six shows and “north of 50 hours of programming” from New Orleans during the week leading up to the NFL championship game on Feb. 3. The Super Bowl-related fare will be flanked by a multimedia marketing initiative geared toward building awareness for the network inside and outside the Big Easy.

CBS Corp. will provide unprecedented coverage of the “Big Game,” marshaling assets in network and local television, radio, cable, premium television and digital in presenting the title tilt from all angles, including entertainment, news and sports.

Berson said CBS Sports Network gets to bookend all of that coverage. “We’re going to kick off it with The Tim Brando Show [simulcast on the cable net] from Radio Row on Monday morning Jan. 28 and the NFL Today crew on Super Bowl Live is going to throw from their post-game coverage on CBS to Elementary,” he explained. “For those who want more football, the show will continue from the Superdome on CBS Sports Network.”

In between, CBSSN will originate three of its regular shows --  analysis program, NFL Monday QB, talker Rome and late-night entry Lead Off  -- from CBS Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square, as the French Quarter landmark will serve as CBS’s broadcast center. Super Bowl Live, the cable net’s primetime show, airing Tuesday-Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., will also play from there. Inside the Super Bowl is scheduled Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. from Radio Row, culminating with a three-hour Saturday edition, starting at 11 a.m. from Jackson Square.

Berson said visitors in New Orleans will get a first-hand look at the way CBS Sports brand is now doing business.

“You’re going to see Greg Gumbel hosting our primetime show. You’re going to see the Super Bowl announcer team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, and the NFL Today studio team of James Brown, Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason and Coach [Bill ]Cowher on our air. All of the coaches and players, guest analysts will appear on CBS Sports Network shows.” he said.”It’s the melding of CBS Sports brand across different platforms, on broadcast, the cable channel, radio and on”

The guest list encompasses Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Washington Redskins linebackerLondon Fletcherand Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson serve as contributing analysts throughout the week. Moreover, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (Tuesday); Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber (Tuesday); New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora (Wednesday); Seattle Seahawks quarterbackRussell Wilson(Thursday); and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (Saturday) are scheduledt to make the scene.

Berson called the Super Bowl showcase “one step in the continuing evolution” of CBS Sports Network, while acknowledging it’s a big one. “When CBS purchased [CSTV] in 2006 it was in 13 million homes. Since then we’ve changed the name and focus from strictly college sports, added 100 events, and are in nearly 50 million homes,” he said. “We’re going to keep adding more events, more talent, more live studio shows and more analysis. CBS Sports Network will continue to grow.”

A multifaceted push – “the biggest event marketing effort for CBS Sports Network to date” --  is also designed to convey that message.
Kelly Dunne, senior vice president of marketing for CBS Sports, said promos have been airing on the cable channel’s air, as well as CBS Sports programming, including during the AFC Championship post-game show on Jan. 20, touting the cable net’s weeklong coverage from the Super Bowl. CBSSN has made the spot available for affiliates. At press time, Cox New Orleans, Comcast in San Francisco and Time Warner Cable in various markets, among others, had made commitments.

The service has also made reservations in select hotels. Since CBSSN didn’t have a position on hotel lineups, “we started working early on that,” said Dunne, noting that the distribution team secured channel placement in six hotels, where key partners are staying. She said there will be room drops of table tents with CBS’s Super Bowl information on one side and CBS Sports Network’s program schedule and channel number on the other.

CBSSN is sharing space with CBS Entertainment across CBS Outdoor billboards in New Orleans, delivering the message that the service is the 24-hour home of CBS Sports and it will proffer Super Bowl coverage from Jackson Square all week long.

Dunne said the network is also enlisting two street teams to trumpet the network’s presence. The groups, comprising jazz musicians, revelers and brand ambassadors, will fan out to key spots around the Crescent City, distributing such New Orleans trappings as beads and masks, along with network programming and schedule information, from Thursday Jan. 31 through Super Bowl Sunday. They will also take photos of people, inserted into network sets, which can then be uploaded to social media outlets.