The circus comes to town

From behind the scenes, CBS CMO George Schweitzer discusses the Saturday SEC college football broadcast on CBS Sports.

The CBS Sports College Football crew is the best in the biz.

The SEC on CBS bus. George Schweitzer/CBS

Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson, Coordinating Producer Craig Silver, and Director Steve Milton and the troop of dedicated professionals at CBS Sports make it look easy. It's not. It takes technology, teamwork, and talent. Our team is on the road through the Southeastern Conference all fall, bringing the excitement of college football and the Saturday tradition to living rooms across America. "It's really like the circus," says Silver. "We roll our trucks into town. Set up for a few days, do the big show, and then it's on to the next town."

While on-site, CBS employs locally as well as hiring hometown support for catering, transportation, lodging, technical assistance, and student interns to help as runners and PAs. So many things go into making the Saturday SEC broadcast a true adventure. I try to get to one game a year to visit with our CBS colleagues and stay on top of the latest technologies and trends in sports broadcasting. This year it was Alabama vs. LSU, the so-called "game of the century."

I've worked with Craig and many of the crew for years--we were lucky enough to grow up together at CBS. Camera man extraordinaire Neil McCaffrey was with me on News and Sports early in my career. He also does the annual CBS Upfront from Carnegie Hall. Tech Manager Bob Jamieson was a superstar cameraman, and his father was a top exec at CBS Sales long ago. This is "family" for sure. I have the greatest respect and admiration for this group of expert professionals. And best of all, they are really good people to be with.

Marketing guy carries the flag, as they say. CBS
Pregame view from the CBS Sports Booth--LSU vs. Alabama on November 5, 2011. George Schweitzer/CBS
Yes, they do paint the grass. It's not a technology trick, and if you don't believe me, you should have seen my pants after taking this shot. George Schweitzer/CBS

It was an electric night of football--both in the stadium and in homes across the country. The epic battle in Tuscaloosa between No. 1-seeded LSU and No. 2-seeded Alabama was the most watched regular season college game on CBS in 22 years, averaging 20 million viewers. Once again, events like this continue to prove the unique value of network television. In the end, LSU beat Alabama 9-6 in overtime. And Sunday morning, the CBS crew was packing up and heading to Athens, Georgia, for their next adventure.

Tune in next Saturday, November 12, for an @SEConCBS doubleheader. No. 22 Auburn @FootballAU at No. 18 University of Georgia @UGAAthletics at 3:30 p.m. ET, only @CBS!

About the author

    George Schweitzer's position as chief marketing officer at CBS gives him a unique opportunity not only to observe but also to help shape the ways technology is altering the television industry. A communications major at Boston University who joined CBS after graduation some 30 years ago, George is also an unabashed technology geek who specializes in the latest home automation and entertainment gear.

     

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