Pan Am Games ’87
Undated (AP) _ At the last Pan American Games in 1983, CBS learned there was a major difference between television in the United States and television in Venezuela.
″In Venezuela, the 6 o’clock news comes on at 7:30,″ network spokesman Doug Richardson said.
Dealing with that kind of laissez-faire attitude wasn’t easy for CBS, which was plagued by technological problems in Caracas. A smoother operation is expected at this year’s Pan Am Games in Indianapolis.
″We’re getting great cooperation,″ says David Winner, who will oversee CBS’ coverage of the Games. ″They’ve got a beautiful new teleconference center on the Indiana-Purdue campus that we’ll be using as our broadcast center. And all the people there have been wonderful.″
CBS will televise a total of 26 hours from Indianapolis over three consecutive weekends beginning Aug. 8. About 75 percent of the coverage will be live. The rest will be taped highlights from events held earlier in the week.
″Some sports will be almost all live,″ Winner says. ″For example, we’ll have a tremendous amount of live track and field.″
Other sports on which CBS will concentrate include baseball, basketball, boxing, gymnastics, and swimming and diving. There also will be limited coverage of volleyball, cycling, softball, weightlifting and other events.
Winner says the boxing competition, which will feature strong U.S. and Cuban teams, should be a highlight.
″The Cubans always have great boxers,″ he says. ″There should be some dramatic confrontations with U.S. fighters.″
Thirty-eight countries will be represented at the Games, ranging from the United States to the tiny Central American country of Belize.
″We’re doing a feature on the Belize softball team, which is supposed to be very good,″ Richardson says. ″It’s kind of amazing considering that CBS has a bigger annual income than Belize.″
CBS will also show features on the Gee sisters, identical twins from Caifornia entered in the table tennis competition, and Jim Abbott, a one-armed pitcher on the U.S. baseball team.
″There’s a great variety of athletes and sports at the Pan Am Games, and we want to convey that to the viewer,″ Winner says.
Coverage will be hosted by Brent Musburger. Expert commentators include Billy Packer (basketball), Gil Clancy (boxing), Bart Conner (gymnastics), Craig Masback (track), Mark Marquess (baseball), and John Naber and Phil Boggs (swimming and diving).
Musburger and a CBS crew went to Cuba last week to tape features on the Cuban athletes.
End Adv Weekend Editions July 25-26