How smartphone apps are already transforming March Madness

Mar 23, 2011
Misc

The biggest change in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is the expansion of 68 teams or the fact that all the games are available in their entirety on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV. Rather, fans and casual pool-participants are really taking March Madness on the go with their smartphones. NCAA March Madness on Demand […]

The biggest change in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is the expansion of 68 teams or the fact that all the games are available in their entirety on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV. Rather, fans and casual pool-participants are really taking March Madness on the go with their smartphones.

NCAA March Madness on Demand (for iPhone and iPad users) and NCAA March Madness Fan Zone (for iPhone and Android devices) – both free apps – are proving to be slam dunk options.  In addition to live streaming video of each game, the apps allow users to manage brackets, get box scores and stats, watch instant highlights and replays, as well as connect to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This in-your-hand interaction has dramatically increased the way fans participate in college basketball’s holy grail, and more fans than ever are taking part: March Madness on Demand was the No. 1 free app in the iTunes store March 17 – 21, and by the end of the third round, 36% of all live streams came from an iPhone or iPad.

The growth isn’t too surprising, considering the amount of smartphones there are today. The app also lets super fans stream one game, while watching another on TV. And the 2011 version is clearer, with a richer streaming quality (enough to earn it a 4-star average rating in the iTunes store). Additionally, many of the games take place during the day when people are at work or commuting and don’t have access to a TV. But they always have access to their phones!

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According to a Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA, the apps alone saw 702,000 unique visitors a day and averaged 20.4 minutes of streamed video content daily. Across both broadband and mobile apps, there were 26.7 million visitors during the first three rounds, with 10.3 million total hours of live video streamed.

The ever-growing presence of the app is literally becoming a game-changer for NCAA March Madness, and could be an eye-opener for other sports organizations. After all, the only thing it doesn’t do for you is decide which game to watch on TV and which to steam.

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