The NCAA Tournament is about to begin and with it, Greg Gumbel’s 26th year as host on CBS. “Plum job is probably putting it lightly” declared the 76 year old sportscaster. “There are people who would give their right arm to be sitting next to Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis on selection Sunday or sitting next to Kellogg, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley.”
Talk about some heavyweights!
Gumbel has maneuvered through myriad games during the last quarter century but it’s the first two days of the tournament that are a unique challenge. “Those first two days are absolute murder. 16 games on Thursday, 16 games on Friday. The last games usually finishes up at 1AM, 1:30.”
And there’s not much time to sleep. Gumbel and crew have to be back in by 7:30 for production meetings, voice overs, rehearsals, research. Think it’s a glamorous job? Gumbel wouldn’t trade it for the world.
But there are some drawbacks. Take for example: when the network used to leave one game for another that is close in score with little time remaining. Guess who got blamed for this?
“Sure, because I’m the face. The switchboard would explode. People in Kentucky- how dare you take them away from their Kentucky Wildcats, but they were leading by 35!…
“We’re watching the game and Greg Gumbel has to stick his big nose…”
We both broke out in laughter. But it’s the nature of the beast and a glorious beast it is.
Buzzer beaters are the best. We all love them. Plus, there are now four networks doing the games: CBS, TNT, TBS and TRU TV.
“We always want to get someone to the sight of a possible buzzer beater. You’ve got to take the majority of your audience to the game.”
So, get ready because this should be another wild NCAA Tournament!
Hear the second part of George’s conversation on “Tell me a story I don’t know” with Greg Gumbel by clicking play below,
And make sure to hear more of George’s great content on the Last Word on Sports Media podcast feed by following/subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, etc. Also find out more at www.lastwordonsports.com/podcasts