Close to 60 percent more hoops fans logged onto the Web in 2009 to catch at least some live action from the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament than did during 2008.
According to CBS Sports, March Madness on Demand–the network’s live online coverage of over 60 tournament games—drew a total of 7.52 million unique users, an increase of 58 percent versus last year’s 4.76 million users. In fact, last year’s figure was eclipsed in just the tournament’s first four days, as MMOD hauled in 5.6 million unique viewers from Mar. 19 through Mar. 22, said officials.
Besides setting another reach milestone, the MMOD video player—which was distributed on CBSSports.com and close to 300 other site across the Web, delivered 8.6 million total hours of content. That represented a whopping 75 percent increase versus the 4.92 million hours delivered in 2008.
Plus, over 500,000 hours of video and audio content were streamed via MMOD just during the final three games of the tournament, which culminated on Monday (Apr. 6). That’s an increase of 50 percent compared to the streaming numbers recorded during the semifinal and final games of 2008’s tournament.
While MMOD established a new viewership threshold, CBS’s biggest victory was on the ad sales front. According to officials, this years’ online coverage resulted in close to $30 million in ad revenue, up from the $21 million generated in 2008.