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Reality Check: Why the Final Four was only on cable-satellite this year

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - To watch Saturday night's Kentucky-Wisconsin game in the Final Four, Big Blue fans will need either cable or satellite service.

This year marks the first time the national semifinals of the NCAA tournament won't air on over-the-air television.

The NCAA tournament is one of the most popular and lucrative tournaments in sports, and the broadcast rights to those games are all part of a $10.8-billion deal.

CBS first started broadcasting championship games in 1982.

In 2010, a new deal was struck when the tournament field was increased to 68 teams and the NCAA wanted every tournament game to be broadcast live which was something CBS couldn't do on its own.

That's why now the games are shared in a deal that runs through 2024. Some of the games will air on CBS while others air on Turner-owned cable-satellite channels TBS, TNT and truTV.

"We've been pretty lucky that we've had four Kentucky games in a row," said WKYT President and General Manager Chris Mossman about how Kentucky's first games in this year's NCAA tournament have ended up airing on CBS. "This is the first year the Final Four has gone over to cable. Do I wish we could air it? Absolutely, I wish we could air this one. Hopefully, we'll have one Monday night to air."

This year's Final Four games -- Florida vs. Connecticut and Kentucky vs. Wisconsin -- will air on Turner stations while Monday night's national championship airs on CBS and WKYT.

Turner is also doing a first this year.

While the main national broadcast will air on cable-satellite channel TBS, "teamcasts" or games called by local commentators will air on on TNT and truTV.

The Kentucky teamcast by former Wildcat Rex Chapman and WKYT's Rob Bromley and Dave Baker will air on TNT.

So to watch Kentucky vs. Wisconsin in the Final Four, fans will need cable or satellite service to watch either TBS or TNT. The exact channel number depends on which cable or satellite provider you have and where you live.


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