March Madness Ended Like it Started for Mobile Users: Strongly


The mobile and online viewing market for the most recent MCAA Division 1 basketball tournament ended just like it started, setting records for viewership and total amount of live game video streamed to fans.

The tournament was a huge televised hit, with the final between Louisville and Michigan garnering a an average 23.4 million viewers, up 12% from last year and a 19 year high, the online virewership was also record setting.

The overall mobile and online viewership hit 49 million live video streams, an increase of 168% from last year with more than 14 million hours of live video consumed by the fans. Both of these numbers set new records.

Not surprisingly the mobile space, with the strong growth of tablets in the last year and the powerful presence of smartphones, saw very strong growth for the tournament. Minutes were up 309% for mobile phones and 194% for tablet users.

PC users still represent a strong viewing group with broadband users represented 5.8 million unique visitors who watched games from their systems and they averaged 105 minutes of live video watched per user while mobile users averaged 70 minutes.

Social media users were also out in force, with the National Championship game netting a total of 3.5 million comments across all social media monitored, up 144% from last year. For the tournament as a whole there were 16.3 million comments, up 112% from last year.

The top ranked games across digital platforms during the 2013 NCAA Tournament, based on live video streams. Interesting to note that the final was not the top game

Valparaiso vs. Michigan State – 1,844,000
Bucknell vs. Butler – 1,784,000
Mississippi vs. Wisconsin – 1,778,000
Michigan vs. Louisville – 1,620,000
Albany vs. Duke – 1,488,000

iPad now on Duke’s hard court

Duke University’s men’s basketball team is the latest college sports team to adopt a tablet as a major training tool as the school revealed this week that it was going to eliminate notebooks and move over to Apple’s iPad.

The school will be providing the latest version of the iPad with a 64GB storage capacity and players will have a range of information ranging from the static such as schedules and scouting reports, to live video of the teams’ plays as well as those of rivals and scouting reports. Also included will be tracking software and the ability to wipe the memory if they are stolen or lost.

Tablets are gaining ever increasing acceptance across a wide spectrum of usage models and sports, often viewed as so old school that it is still considering the typewriter, has actually been at the forefront of adoption.

There are at least eight NFL teams that have moved away from paper notebooks and onto iPads including the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens. MLB and the NBA have also been quick to follow suit.

Colleges have seen what their professional brethren are doing and have also started to adopt the technology. At the start of this season Stanford University adopted the iPad for its football players. Ohio State announced earlier this year that it was going to outfit all of its student athletes with iPads over the next two years. Other schools moving in this direction include Syracuse and the University of Colorado.

The one constant I am seeing is that almost all of the schools and pro teams are using Apple’s iPad as the tablet of choice and that is a great PR boost for the company (not that they really need it), but if rivals want to get high profile positioning of their tablets they might be well rewarded by going after some teams. I guess we might see this change a bit when the Windows 8 tablets come out next month, but then again maybe not.