By now you have probably seen a number of studies that show America loses $(your number here) amount of money due to loss of productivity due to people watching the March Madness at work. I think this study, highlighted by Mashable, is the more interesting one, how many people used mobile devices to watch games.
According to market researcher comScore 20% of online viewing occurred on either a smartphone or a tablet, a number that is roughly double the average for non-sporting events, the company’s comScore Device Essentials research showed.
There are a number of reasons to use a smartphone or a tablet to watch a game. It is easier to do so surreptitiously than on a computer screen, ability to watch multiple screens, traveling or just wanting to check in occasionally during some free time to catch up.
The increase of traffic by devices is very interesting. Compared to the three Thursday/Fridays prior to the tournament computer viewing of sports content was up 77%, surprisingly the weakest growth of the technologies surveyed.
Smartphone usage soared 83%, tablet use in viewing sports was up 94% and all others increased 78%. For use while viewing non sports content they all record minor decreases in the 1% to 4% range. As the study noted, the sports usage was not in place of usual viewing but was rather incremental consumption.
Whatever the reason this is a solid trend for major events with the most recent Super Bowl having a huge on-line presence, in part driven by mobile devices. I expect that the upcoming London Olympics will see mobile devices having an even greater impact as fans can catch events that might not be on broadcast television.
Now I would like to see a study on how many tablet and smartphone users massively went over their data plans and are either facing extra charges, throttling or both.