AT&T: Fans used 2.28 TB of cellular data during Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.45.34 AMAs the march toward the Final Four continued, fans at the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 venues for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament used a combined 2.28 terabytes of data on the AT&T networks in those venues, according to AT&T. The highest weekend total came from games at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where 680 GB were used, according to AT&T.

Combined with the 3.6 TB of data AT&T said was used on its networks at first- and second-round sites, that makes a total of 5.88 TB used so far on AT&T cellular and DAS networks at the various hoops arenas. We’d like to hear from other carriers as well, but none have contacted us so far.

Data totals at this weekend’s Final Four in Houston should be interesting, since the host venue, NRG Stadium, doesn’t yet have a Wi-Fi network. Both AT&T and Verizon have beefed up cellular coverage in and around the arena, but without Wi-Fi it may be hard for fans to top last year’s total of 11 TB used at the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Remember — all Final Four games this weekend are on TBS, not CBS! Of course you can also stream the games if that’s easier.

March Madness online resets the record books with 17.8 million hours of live viewing

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.37.28 PMTurner Sports and the NCAA said that online viewing of the 2015 men’s NCAA basketball tournament once again set new records, showing (again) that the demand for live sports online is still growing steadily with no top in sight.

From the round of 64 to One Shining Moment this year’s March Madness Live audience racked up 17.8 million hours of online viewing, according to figures released by Turner Sports and the NCAA Tuesday. The 80.7 million individual live streams were an increase of 17 percent over the 2014 tournament coverage, and the total hours watched was up 19 percent from last year.

Things really ramped up online for this past weekend’s Final Four games, with the Saturday semifinal doubleheader recording 6 million live video streams (an increase of 59 percent over 2014) and 1.5 million hours (an increase of 53 percent) of online watching, according to Turner and the NCAA. Monday’s championship game saw 3.4 million video streams started, with 1 million hours of live video consumed — totals that increased 66 percent and 69 percent, respectively, from 2014 figures. Overall, the NCAA and Turner Sports also said that mobile-only viewing also surged, increasing 20 percent in both views and hours from last year, though they did not provide a breakout figure for mobile-only viewing.

What is helping the increase in online watching? For one the ease in which March Madness could be consumed — watching this year on various platforms I noticed that the sign-in procedure with my cable contract info didn’t need to be repeated — ever — on my desktop or on my mobile device; in previous years the sign-in technology had been somewhat of a gating factor, and in the earliest years the extra-charge fee for watching games online almost certainly kept the audience much lower than it could be.

And now that fans know the games will be available online in an easy to find place — — they seem to know to go there for the early games that take place during work hours. In fact, the most-watched game online after the Final Four was a Round of 64 game between Notre Dame and Northeastern, which took place in the morning of March 19 — with 3.9 million video streams, it was clear that people at work got wind of the potential upset in the making and tuned in.

For once I have no complaints about the technical parts of the online March Madness offering — I watched the entire second half of the gripping Notre Dame-Kentucky regional game on my phone over Wi-Fi, and had no glitches, buffering or any other transmission problems. The only nit I would pick is why broadcasters like Turner feel it’s OK to impose technical control over online viewers, like blocking the mute button on the video screen during commercials, or by floating the little “Pizza Hut” icon on the left of the screen during game play, a small annoyance but noticeable. You’d be crucified for trying stunts like that on broadcast TV, so why insult viewers online just because you can?

March Madness online: All 67 men’s tournament games available to cable/pay TV subscribers on any platform

NCAA hoops on a Kindle? Sure!

NCAA hoops on a Kindle? Sure!

I’m not that old, but I am old enough to remember when the men’s NCAA basketball tournament was on broadcast TV only, and not online mainly because the Internet and world wide web were just getting started. I even can take credit for being one of the first to ever try to put live tourney scores online, a battle that started between my outfit and a little place called Starwave Sports that eventually was bought by ESPN. That’s a funny story but you already know the ending.

Fast forward to 2015, when all 67 games of this year’s tournament will be available live, online, streamed to just about whatever device you want — as long as you have a qualifying cable or pay TV contract. With a revamped March Madness Live app, the powers that be behind the tournament broadcasts — Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA — are promising to deliver the “ultimate digital destination” for live tournament access.

There’s some new games, new social media stuff and other goodies that you can check out at the March Madness site — including a Rhianna video for some reason — but the key thing for most hoops fans will (and always will be) the games themselves, which this year start on March 17. If you have a cable contract you are set, since all you need to do is log in with your account information and you will be able to get “unlimited live streaming coverage and on-the-go access” to all games, which should make it easier than trying to find the truTV channel on your cable guide.

If you don’t have a cable contract you can still watch all the games that are broadcast on CBS; there will also be temporary “preview pass” for other games, which might be all the time you need if, say, you tune in for the last 2 minutes. Also, the games will be available online at the TBS, TNT and truTV sites, as well as CBS, for those like me who watch sports on their big-screen computer monitor while the other family members are holding the TV hostage.

We’ll do another post as the tournament start gets closer, but for now just revel in the fact that you don’t have to worry about whether or not the games will be available, or whether you will have to shell out $3.99 or $10 more like we did in the not-so-old days to watch the tourney online. It’s the fitting end to a long journey. Grampa Internet says you’re welcome.

UPDATE: Some press-photo looks at the new app and bracket app from March Madness Live below.

Game Center view

Game Center view

Android smartphone look at new app

Android smartphone look at new app

Android tablet bracket view

Android tablet bracket view

Turner Sports’ digital approach to March Madness a winner


While most people I know have already seen their NCAA brackets crushed, one player is clearly winning at the tournament and that is Turner Sports and its online game-viewing policy.

According to Turner the men’s 2014 NCAA tournament has set an all-time record for online video consumption with a total of 51 million video streams accessed through the first full week of the tournament, a number that is 40% greater than what it achieved a year ago at the same point in the event.

To put the number in greater perspective, last year for the entire tournament there were a grand total of 49 million video streams accessed for the event. These numbers represent users accessing the videos from desktops or laptops as well as smartphones and tablets. Mobile (tablets and smartphones) platforms experienced the highest segment growth this year, with live streams for mobile device users up 74% over the first week of the tournament in 2013, according to Turner.

It is interesting to note that the videos were watched for 10.5 million hours, a number that witnessed only an increase by a mere 6%, showing that fans liked the ability to cherry pick the events that they watched and came in droves for them.

According to Turner Sports the top games featured some of the exciting upsets that have been a major factor in this tournament.

§ Dayton vs. Ohio State – 4,626,000 viewers
§ Mercer vs. Duke – 4,218,000
§ Harvard vs. Cincinnati – 2,767,000
§ Kentucky vs. Wichita State – 1,987,000
§ Stanford vs. New Mexico – 1,451,000

Not surprisingly the broadcast side of the business also had a record setting first week. The four networks that carried the games, TBS, truTV, CBS and TNT reported that they had the best first week in the 23 years that they have been carrying the tournament. It is averaging 9,277,000, up 4% from last year.

Turner, March Madness app ready for NCAA tournament


March Madness, one of the sports world’s iconic events is on the horizon and no doubt fans are already plotting out strategies to get out of the office or school to watch their favorite team attempt to advance in its bracket. However thanks to Turner Sports there is an alternative.

It has released NCAA March Madness Live, an app that will provide portable access to all of the games in the tournament, with a total of 150 hours available during the event. Even better the app will now be supported by three platforms, Apple’s iOS, Android and for the first time Microsoft as well. Now fans can use a smartphone or tablet as a second screen if at a bar or as a primary device if at work.

To use the app a fan and watch all of the matchups that will be broadcast on TNT, TBS, and truTV a fan needs to log in with their TV service provider information. Games will also be available online at various sites, including This year, NCAA March Madness Live will launch from more platforms than ever before including the NCAA March Madness page, CBS Sports, and Bleacher Report. There is no registration required for games on CBS. The app will also provide a temporary preview period giving fans access to live game streaming before login is required.

The app, Developed in partnership with the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports is a follow up to previous years’ offerings but it has made several major enhancements to the app since last year, aside from the Microsoft support.

Of importance to the fans of bracketology and seeing if they are winning in their office pool the app has a new interface that has been designed for work with the smaller screens that smartphones feature as well with the slightly larger screens on tablets. It allows users to go directly from this feature to a live game and includes broadcast times and schedules. It also has additional view modes for brackets.

The heart of the app might be the GameCenter, one of the features that has been redesigned. It is the central [point to find which games are currently live streaming as well as pre-game matchup analysis, live in-game stats, key social moments and fan chat.

To complement the enhanced features in the bracket area there is the almost obligatory bracket for fans, this one entitled Capitol One NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge. The app developers have enhanced its social media functionality as well as supporting computers as well as smartphones and tablets. It allows for the formation of groups, sharing brackets and chat via Facebook.

There is also a general chat forum called the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena that enables fans t converse about games and other events as well as follow game tweets, post and view Instagram photos and Vine videos. Fans can participate in the social commentary by using the hashtag #marchmadness.

Understanding that some fans might want to set up schedules to just see specific matchups the app now includes a TV Schedule that helps with planning. This feature can be accessed from various other features such as game schedule or bracket and provides the round, date, time and network for each game. Also new this year is a Tournament News feature that provides news and updates as well as highlights, recaps and additional information each day.

Following the broadcasting of all of the just concluded Winter Olympic events online by NBC hopefully this is the wave of the future. While MLB enables fans to watch a huge number of games either online or on their television via a subscription model the NBA and NFL trail well behind it.

Turner Sports to provide viewer options during Final Four broadcasts


The NCAA’s Final Four is one of the most watched sporting events of the year, and for that matter talked about as fans and non fans start early by entering pools of all sorts to predict the winner of the month long tournament..

As the teams get eliminated and it charges down to the finals fans become polarized as to who they want to win based on teams’ reputations, pool results and a host of other issues. Now fans can watch broadcasts that are designed for each team in the Final Four thanks to Turner Sports, the network that will be broadcasting the games.

Sports Business Daily is reporting that the two will take an innovative approach to broadcasting the games at next years’ tournament. There will be the traditional national broadcast that will be seen on TBS. TNT and truTV will then carry the exact same game but with a twist.

Each channel will have a team-centric approach with announcers and camera angles designed to highlight one team. The differentiation does not stop there as the halftime shows will also be different, although pregame and post games shows will be the same.

The Final Four next year will be seen only on cable for the first time and the networks are hoping that they can avoid the tradition viewership drop when a formerly over the air broadcast moves to cable with this move. The championship game will be broadcast on CBS and so will obviously not have dual perspectives.