It's Game On for 'March Madness'

On Thursday (March 15) CBS and Turner Sports tip-off their eighth year of March Madness coverage, airing and streaming live every game of the popular men’s college basketball tournament.

On TV, fans can watch every play of every game through a mix of channels including broadcast network CBS, as well as cable networks TNT, TBS and truTV. If you don’t want to scroll up and down the channel lineup looking for those channels, the NCAA March Madness Live streaming app will provide easy switching from game to game on a single screen and can be accessed on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku the Xbox One gaming console and other platforms.

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If you’re at work, in the car or at the mall, the games are also available on your mobile phone via NCAA March Madness Live. For hardcore fans, Turner/CBS will offer Fast Break, a live streaming “whip-around” service that will switch between every tournament game during the first two days as well as provide real-time analysis and social media reaction.

With so many platforms available to watch the games, it’s hard to imagine a time when only one or two games were available to watch at a time during the first two rounds of the tournament. TNT and CBS have helped revolutionize the way viewers experience the tournament, according to sports consultant Lee Berke.

“The demand has always been there to see more and more of these games on a live, real-time basis on multiple platforms, but the technology hadn’t caught to the demand,” Berke said. “Finally the technology and the platforms have caught up to what the fans want to see.”

With this year’s version of March Madness generating $1.28 billion in advertising revenue – up 3.3% from last year according to Kantar Media – sponsors continue to make a fast break toward the tournament and are not overly concerned about potential audience splintering due to the various platform offerings.

“From a media company standpoint and from a sponsor standpoint nobody loses out,” Berke said. “All  the eyeballs and revenue are captured, and it leads to a great business model that works well for the rights holders, the sponsors and the sports fans.”

All that’s left is to sit back and watch the madness unfold.  

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.