CBS got an 'ace' of a pregame story line following the progress of injured Kevin Ware
Big events generally draw TV viewers who otherwise don't follow the sport involved.
And TV networks try to attracts those casual viewers, who generally determine whether a big event's TV rating goes up or down, with coverage that appeals to emotions and human-interest storylines rather than explaining any X's and O's.
Not surprisingly, CBS followed that game plan in its pregame coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament Saturday. But, before the Louisville-Wichita State game, it had an unexpected ace: The story of Kevin Ware, the Louisville player who suffered the traumatic injury last Sunday in the win against Duke.
In a taped feature on Ware leading into game coverage, Ware said he'd "be celebrating like there's no tomorrow" if Louisville wins the NCAA title Monday night.
And expect CBS to be focused on that if it happens. CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson noted that Louisville is already thinking about "arrangements" for Ware to help cut down the net Monday -- a moment that could potentially even trump CBS' One Shining Moment tournament-closing segment.
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Charles Barkley, in CBS/Turner's pregame show, lauded CBS for replaying Ware's injury just twice Sunday,"not showing it over and over." And Ware, said Barkley, "has grown on my heart this week. … It's so awesome how the basketball community has reached out to him."
Pregame analyst Kenny Smith says Ware told him his injury "didn't hurt that much" while analyst Doug Gottlieb says Louisville would "miss him in this game" against Wichita State.
Then, just minutes before tipoff, Ware appeared on CBS to say, "I'm great. Honestly."
If only, with CBS and various media outlets squeezing Ware's injury for everything it's worth for them, everybody could leave it at that.
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