For 17 years, SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology) has been the
statistical and data-integration partner for CBS Sports and Turner Sports on
the entire NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. This year, however, there’s a new
wrinkle: a more holistic approach to content led to the integration of SMT data
directly into the March Madness Live app experience.
“That’s an exciting addition for us,” says Lee Brinson,
SMT’s team lead onsite in Houston. “They really like the speed at which we
input. It doesn’t change the types of stats we are tracking, because our system
is already pretty robust, but the driving force behind the stat choices we make
[is] CBS and Turner.”
All data obtained by SMT is pumped to other trucks in the
compound; the company’s home offices in Durham, NC; Turner Studios in Atlanta;
and CBS Studios in New York City.
Another new feature from SMT this year is a zoom
telestration system called Smart Zone, which allows the production crew to get
a high-resolution zoom on a close play and interact with the image by adding
graphics. The tool could prove to helpful in a situation like during Syracuse’s
Sweet 16 victory over Gonzaga when Orange guard Trevor Cooney was ruled in
bounds following a rebound near the baseline in the final seconds of a 1-point
Also, the additional team-centric TeamStream productions at
this year’s Final Four are receiving extra care from Turner Sports and CBS
Sports, and that has resulted in an expansion of SMT resources in the compound.
In previous years, one workstation in the graphics truck would have been
enough. This year, there are two stat-tracking setups and a team of four onsite.
Brinson is joined by Kevin Wang, (who focuses on stat input), Aaron Baker (who
operates the zoom telestration system), and Dustin Vinton (who oversees
integration of the data into Turner graphics).