'Teamcast' offers Big Blue fans a custom Final Four broadcast featuring Rex Chapman

syoungman@herald-leader.comApril 3, 2014 

  • What do you think, #BBN?

    What would help make the TNT broadcast more Kentucky? Maybe some commercials for Purnell Old Folks Sausage? Tell us in the comment section below or at Facebook.com/kentuckycom.

Rex Chapman can think of only one good reason why some Kentucky Wildcat faithful might stick to the TBS broadcast of Saturday night's game between the Cats and the Wisconsin Badgers instead of an alternative broadcast tailor-made for Big Blue fans on TNT.

"I think there may be some superstitious ones who aren't going to want to do anything differently than what they've been doing," Chapman told the Herald-Leader this week.

The former University of Kentucky star, known to many in the Bluegrass State as "King Rex," will join WKYT sports anchors Rob Bromley and Dave "Buzz" Baker in calling UK's Final Four game as part of a new experiment by Turner Sports and CBS.

TBS will air the game with commentary from Jim Nantz, Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr, while TNT plans to present the game with a Kentucky flavor, beginning with a lineup of Kentucky commentators.

"It's really exciting," Bromley said. "It just came out of the blue."

Chapman, who has a long relationship with Turner Sports, and Bromley, who has covered about half of UK's 16 Final Four appearances, were contacted over the weekend after the Cats defeated Louisville in the Sweet 16.

The Badgers will have their own "teamcast" on truTV. In the earlier game, Florida's teamcast will be on TNT, and the University of Connecticut crew will be on truTV.

Bromley, who flew to Texas on Wednesday evening, is a veteran broadcaster well known to Cats fans, but this is his first national broadcast.

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you otherwise; it puts some pressure on me," Bromley said.

The Kentucky broadcasters already demonstrated news-crew high jinks before they arrived in Dallas.

When Baker told his viewers about the "teamcast" during WKYT's noon Thursday newscast, he said he'd be joined by Bromley and Chapman, if he "doesn't boot ol' Rex for putting up all this video of me on the Internet."

"The Rex-clamation Point" recently launched his own website, iRex3.com, and uploaded video he made of Baker in 2011, culled from old clips of Baker on VHS and Betamax tapes.

"You're welcome, Buzz," Chapman wrote on his website. "See you in Big D, bro."

Chapman, in a phone interview from his home in Phoenix, said he's not sure how much of Big Blue Nation will join him and his colleagues in the experiment, but he said Bromley and Baker "have such huge followings" in Kentucky.

Managers at two Lexington bars known for drawing large crowds when the Wildcats play said they will probably have televisions tuned to TNT during the game, allowing patrons to soak up the commen-tucky.

"We want obviously a pro-UK environment," said Courtney McGuffin, general manager at Two Keys Tavern.

Sarah Cooley, manager at The Tin Roof, said she also is leaning toward showing the TNT version.

"I think it will definitely make it a unique one for sure," Cooley said. "And more customized. That will be nice."

Each broadcast will have its own TV truck, director and producer, team-specific replays and graphics, and a customized halftime show. Additional cameras will offer school-centric angles.

Bromley said he's hopeful that Wildcat fans will join them.

"I think we can provide some insight being right here in the city and in the state," he said. "And following it as closely as we do, hopefully we can give it a Kentucky slant."

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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