The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament starts in just one month. Also known as “March Madness“, this marks the 18 days of the year when normal people who have no interest at all in basketball the other 347 days of the year become rabid fans of some little-known Cinderella school. Office pools, heated discussions about the chances of the Sweet Sixteen teams, and sleep deprivation become familiar features of the season.
The problem facing the true enthusiast is how to watch the games. Many do get broadcast on the CBS network, but you’re at the mercy of the producers as to which one you get to see when more than one is underway. And it’s quite possible that you don’t get a CBS affiliate station on the computer screen in your cubicle. What is a fan to do?
Fret not. For the first time ever, you will be able to watch all of the games live on your computer… for FREE! NCAA March Madness on Demand will make all 63 games available on your computer via a broadband Internet connection, from the opening round to the championship match. The games will be shown in 640 by 360 widescreen; it’s not HD, but it’s close to a wide standard definition image so you should be able to follow the action just fine. And if you miss a game, it will be archived so that you can watch it after it has ended.
So how do you get in on the action? You go to http://ncaasports.com/mmod?source=mktg_mmod08_vip1_mbcb&refcode=mmod08_vip1_mbcb to sign up. And if you sign up early enough, you’ll get a VIP Pass that will shorten the wait when you’re trying to watch a specific game. Capacity is limited, so some users may encounter a delay when trying to connect. Just because there are limits to the service doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deliver a lot of content, however. Last year, the March Madness on Demand site streamed games to more than 1.3 million unique views, totalling more than 2.6 million hours of programming.
Boy, if the productivity hit from March Madness doesn’t drive this economy into a recession, nothing will.