The recent NCAA college basketball tournament in the US caused significant spikes in selected sports websites in March 2009, according to The Nielsen Company, which reported increases in both month-over-month (MoM) and year-over-year (YoY) traffic for CBS Sports, ESPN and Yahoo Sports.
Monitoring traffic to these three major web properties reveals that CBS Sports had 15.1 million unique visitors in March 2009, a 70% spike in activity over February 2009 and a 20% increase over March 2008, Nielsen reported. ESPN had 19.8 million unique visitors, a 34% MoM increase and a 16% YoY increase. Yahoo Sports had 19.4 million visitors, a 2% MoM increase and a 31% YoY boost.
Video streaming on CBS Sports also saw huge increases during the tournament, with a 287% gain in unique users watching video, Nielsen said. These viewers racked up more than 380 million minutes of viewing time in March, an increase of 4465% over February 2009.
Mobile Sports Gaining Steam
A study from AT&T conducted in connection with its involvement in the live broadcast of “March Madness” games via mobile phones also found that nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) are keen to watch TV programming live on a handheld mobile device.
The poll also revealed, perhaps not surprisingly, that men are more interested than women in watching sports live on mobile TV. Nearly half (49%) of men would like to watch sports live on a handheld mobile device (vs. 25% of women).
Some 68% men of men and 41% of women say it’s important to watch sports live on TV in general, AT&T found.