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 viewing: More digital options, plus some virtual reality

MML_iPhone_01-WatchRemember when college basketball tournament season only had a small slice of games available online? Or when you had to pay extra to watch online? It wasn’t that long ago. Thankfully though the future is here now and for 2016 the college hoops postseason has even more ways to watch games mobile or online, including one option to watch games via virtual reality programming.

Like last year, if you have a qualifying cable contract, you are basically covered and should be able to watch all the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games live, on whichever platform you want. The best way to start is to head to the NCAA’s March Madness home page, where you should be able to find any and all information on devices, apps and other avenues to streaming coverage. According to Turner Sports, the NCAA and CBS Sports the games will be available live on 12 different platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku players and Roku TV models. The new March Madness Live app isn’t avalable until Thursday, so check back soon for the go-to app for everything March Madness.

Also like last year, you should be able to watch a few minutes of the first game you see without having to log in — great if you are just trying to catch a buzzer beater. The games of course will be available on regular TV, and the March Madness home page has what may be a great time saver, a widget that helps you find those obscure cable channels other than CBS or TNT where the games might be on. Since we’ve just moved, MSR’s NCAA viewing team might make good use of the Zip Code-powered channel finder.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 12.14.34 PMEven if you don’t have a cable contract you can still watch a lot of games that are streamed online; games broadcast on CBS will be available for no charge on desktop, mobile and tablet platforms, while games broadcast on the other channels (TNT, TBS, truTV and local channels) should be available on those providers’ websites. Again, if you get stuck or lost just defaulting back to the March Madness home page should give you a path to whatever game it is you’re looking for.

Big East tourney available in VR

If you have a NextVR platform you will be able to watch the 2016 Big East tournament (it starts Thursday, March 10) thanks to a partnership between FOX Sports and NextVR. We’re not VR-savvy here at MSR headquarters yet but with seven games and 15 hours of programming scheduled this might be a cool treat for VR fans. NextVR has an instruction page on how to watch the games in VR; if anyone tries this out, send us an email with a report on how it worked (or didn’t) and we’ll let everyone else know.

Also, don’t forget — this year for the first time the NCAA Men’s Championship game, scheduled for Monday, April 4, will be on TBS, NOT on CBS, the first time the champs game has been only on cable. And, there will be streaming options as well during Final Four weekend, according to the official announcement:

For the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals on Saturday, April 2, from Houston, NCAA March Madness Live will provide three distinct live video streams of both games to provide unprecedented viewing options for fans – live streaming of the traditional game coverage provided on TBS, along with “Team Stream by Bleacher Report” coverage or team-specific presentations offered via TNT and truTV. This year’s NCAA Tournament will include the National Championship airing on TBS, the first time the championship has ever been televised on cable television.

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

NBC and NHL provide TV Everywhere for Stanley Cup Playoffs


The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and the NHL, along with its playoff broadcast partners are using a variety of mobile and digital strategies and programs to engage fans including streaming broadcasts of the games.

The highlights are probably having all of the games presented nationally across the platforms of the NBC Sports Group for the third year in a row and for the second consecutive year NBC Sports Live Extra will stream every game live. To fans that closely follow the games this might not be a surprise but for the casual fan this could be news.

The live streaming will reach a variety of devices that have downloaded the NBC Sports Live Extra app and can stream the events as they are shown on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC. It will work with desktop and laptop PCs to tablets and smartphones as long as they are authenticated customers.

This is part of the growing push for “TV Everywhere” partnerships between cable providers, networks and sports leagues that all are starting to promote more aggressively. CBS and Turner Sports along with the NCAA saw strong online viewership growth for the recently concluded March Madness even when broadcast viewership slightly declined; and NBC’s push with cable partners during the Winter Olympics also produced large digital audiences. (Editor’s note: So maybe finally broadcasters are really realizing that online audiences are additive, not subtractive ones. Huzzah.)

In addition there will be a stronger social media push for this year’s playoffs including a very interesting deal with Magisto called Making Stanley Cup Movie Magic with Magisto. Magisto is a video creation and sharing app for both Android and Apple platforms and it will enable fans to create movies about experiences and events at the game such as the Blackhawks’ I Was There promotion.

The NHL and CBS are taking an interesting turn at Twitter as well this season. The @NHLonNBCSports twitter account will be handled by a variety of celebrity guests including CBS personalities, ex-players and celebrity hockey fans over the course of the playoffs.

That is just part of its much larger social campaign that also includes the basic news for the playoffs at #StanleyCup, an effort to highlight fans through photos that at #CelebrateStanley Photo Campaign for the Fans and the news and information site of NHL on NBC All-Access Social Media that is located at

It appears that select sports leagues and networks are increasingly coming to the realization that as an increasing number of fans are also cutting the cord to broadcast and cable TV the best was to reach them is via mobile digital media and programs like these from the NHL and NBC seem like the right approach to encourage that engagement.

(Editor’s second note: Not EVERY game is being shown live, there are still local blackouts… look what we got when we tried to tune in San Jose – LA:)

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 10.19.07 PM

TV Everywhere drives strong growth in March Madness viewership


The push to entice digital viewers to follow this year’s NCAA Basketball tournament was a resounding success for and Turner Sports as their NCAA March Madness Live push underwent continued growth in a year when the championship game was down a bit from the previous year on broadcast television.

The broadcasting of the championship game saw a 10% decline in viewership on television. However the match between Kentucky and Connecticut generated two million live video streams, up 30% when compared with last year’s championship game.

The digital streaming effort, which includes its TV Everywhere initiative, maintained strong support from the digital space even in the face of a number of the better know and more popular schools being eliminated early in the tournament this year.

It set a new record for video consumption, as it has in the past few years, with this year’s event with a 42% increase in live video streaming over last year to bring the collective total over all platforms to 69.7 million live video streams. NCAA March Madness Live registered 15 million hours of live video streaming, a new high and up 7% from 2013.

The mobile space, where tablets and smartphones are still undergoing strong growth themselves, experienced very strong growth with an increase of 71% in live streams over the course of the tournament, and the total hours grew by 38% over last year.

In addition to more viewers, they stayed on longer while viewing watching an average of 67% more minutes than non-registered viewers. While a user can register and watch TV Everywhere on a PC, the use of that platform as a second screen appears to be fading in favor of mobile devices. The live streams on logged-in mobile devices representing 52% of the total TV Everywhere usage for the entire tournament

The growth was in a good part helped by the variety of ways that fans could access the tournament aside from mainstream broadcast television that and its partners Turner Sports and CBS Sports made available. There was an option of any one of three web sites available as well as NCAA March Madness Live available via the Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store, Google Play and Windows Store. On top of all of that fans could watch games via live streaming on TNT, TBS and truTV’s digital platforms, as well as participating TV provider websites.