Basketball fans and tech geeks alike rejoice. Well, at least those fans who love college basketball and those geeks who are devoted to Apple. This year, iPhone and iPad owners will be able to watch the March Madness NCAA college basketball tournament for free.
Turner Sports, CBS, and the NCAA have announced that, in a first, “March Madness On Demand” will be free this year for iPhone and iPad users. Tournament games were previously available at a cost of $9.99 via a special app for the iPhone or iPod Touch.
So gone are the days of cubicle-bound office workers hiding behind their computers to catch tournament action or suffering, as non-basketball fans, as they watched their entire office lounge transformed each March into a tournament-viewing site. This year, NCAA tournament followers can just pull out their phone, or tablet, and watch in peace.
The apps launch March 10, and live video will stream over Wifi and 3G.
Selection Sunday for the tournament begins on Sunday, March 13th. The tournament begins with the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, on March 15th and 16th, and concludes April 4th in Houston, Texas.
To put things in perspective, the original iPad was still a figment of our imagination, or dreams, during last year’s tournament.
“We want people using the product with these companion views while they’re watching it on TV,” said Michael Adamson, a vice president at Turner Broadcasting. “If that’s the case, that’s a success in our minds, because that’s a good consumer experience and a larger aggregate audience as a result.”
The new agreement means users will be able to find the games they want to watch, stream live stats along with the game and implement multiple social networks for viewers to share scores and highlights with friends.
Other new elements include the ability to view free streams of the tournament internationally, improved quality and larger-format streams, and a digital viewing guide that allows users to locate televised games more easily.