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Shootout returns to national TV after 5 years away

Jeremy Peters
Marc Lester

After a five-year absence, the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout will return to national television this fall.

CBS Sports Network will televise the 35th annual installment of the longest running regular- season tournament in men's college basketball, UAA athletic director Steve Cobb announced Tuesday.

CBSSN signed a contract for three years with options to renew, and will start by carrying seven games from this fall's Shootout -- three first-round match ups, both semifinals, the third-place game and championship game. UAA is glad to be joining forces with the CBS family of networks, Cobb said.

"It's a good name, you don't have to explain who they are," he said. "They have a good brand, and that was part of what made them attractive."

The broadcast will be produced locally and distributed nationally, with UAA and CBSSN splitting commercial time 50-50 and no advanced fees being paid by either party.

When ESPN last televised the event in 2007, the sports broadcasting giant paid UAA around $100,000, Cobb said. The biggest advantage to the current deal is gaining national exposure, which Cobb expects will attract higher level teams for a tournament field that has lacked star power in recent years.

"It's just extraordinarily important when trying to schedule national teams," Cobb said. "When teams know they are going to be on TV, it makes the field that much stronger."

There are 99 million homes nationwide with access to CBSSN, which is carried by cable networks, video and telco providers that include Verizon FiOS (channel 94) and AT&T U-Verse and satellite on DirecTV (channel 613) and Dish Network (channel 158). GCI does not carry CBSSN, but Cobb said the local cable company will televise the event.

ESPN televised the Shootout from 1985 to 2007, back when the tournament often featured big-name teams like North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky. The world of television has evolved since then, making new options available.

"Times change and opportunity changes, there's an explosion right now in sports channels," Cobb said. "For the foreseeable future, there has to be a limit to how much the sports viewer can consume, but we haven't reached that point yet."

Reach Jeremy Peters at jpeters@adn.com or 257-4335.

CBS Sports Network Shootout coverage schedule Wednesday, Nov. 21 10 p.m. -- Belmont vs. UAA Thursday, Nov. 22 5 p.m. -- Loyola Marymount vs. Oral Roberts 7:30 p.m. -- Texas State vs. Charlotte Friday, Nov. 23 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. -- Semifinals Saturday, Nov. 24 6 p.m. -- Third-place game 8:30 p.m. -- Championship game


By JEREMY PETERS
Anchorage Daily News