Video Streams the New March Madness

Mar 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

It’s likely millions of people were less productive at work during the first four days of the NCAA Division I men’s college basketball championship, due to the free video streams offered by CBS SportsLine, the network’s Web outlet.

As of March 19, SportsLine’s NCAA March Madness on Demand had recorded 4 million visitors and served more than 14 million streams of live video from the 2006 basketball tourney, setting a new record for live event streaming via the Internet, according to CBS SportsLine. The number for the first four days of March Madness surpasses the previous record: NASA’s online coverage of the launch and landing of space shuttle Discovery in July 2005, which received about 2 million visitors.

For the first four days of the tournament, a total of 1.15 million visitors registered for March Madness on Demand. About half of those signed up the first day that the service was available. About 30,000 viewers logged on from overseas.

CBS executives said that the webcast wouldn’t eat into television audiences because many basketball fans would log on from work. With that in mind, CBS SportsLine equipped its site with a “boss button,” which when clicked displayed a fake spreadsheet to hide the online basketball games.