Exclusive: Greg Lindsay Live From CBS Sports’ NCAA Tourney Tip-Off

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FishbowlNY is coming to you live this afternoon from Rehearsal Hall #1 at the CBS Broadcast Center, where I’ve chosen to hole up for the first afternoon of March Madness. Greg Gumbel is broadcasting live somewhere down the hall, but in here — where one wall is nothing but screens displaying multiple feeds from every game and another wall is fill with monitors and ethernet cables for working schlubs like me — it’s a forest of empty Heineken bottles. This is CBS Sports’ March Madness Tip Off Party, and I’ve never seen a more varied selection of sports jackets and shirts with small blue checks in my entire life.

A rotating cast of network executives and representatives of varied leagues have been here since noon and will keep coming until midnight, when the 16 games today will have finally concluded. That’s more than enough time for all of us to have another dozen pigs in a blanket, at least.

Almost exciting as the games themselves (I’ve got Winthrop beating Tennessee in my bracket, how ’bout you?) is CBS’s apparently successful experiment in obliterating the productivity and available bandwidth of offices nationwide with its March Madness On Demand broadband broadcast, which by all accounts appears to be holding up under the strain of 268,000 simultaneous video streams, with thousands more packed into virtual waiting rooms for their crack at the broadcast. MMOD, as it’s been dubbed, has been rapturously described as a “watershed event,” for online video, with CBS apparently able to make money despite its bandwidth costs from advertising alone. The Washington Post reports that fretting office managers have rushed to block the streams, and with good reason — Deadspin’s Will Leitch has posted reader emails all day long attesting to MMOD’s ability to bring network traffic to a crawl.

Which explains why you weren’t able to read this until Friday morning.

UPDATE: CBS says MMOD has already surpassed 1.2 million video streams served. So you really won’t be reading this ’til Friday morning.