Looking back at March Madness and the new ways viewers were receiving their information mostly meant mobile apps. During March Madness’ opening week, the NCAA.com mobile app generated 31.3 million visits alone, and overall, there were 26.7 million visits across online and mobile from the start of March 15 to March 20, 702,000 unique users of mobile apps. That was a 63% increase over the year prior. And that does not even include any type of ticket sales for March Madness’ games. Talk about mad. So what made this year different? This year, viewers were able to constantly watch the progress of the games regardless of where they were. No longer limited to TV and computers viewers were able to download applications to their mobile devices including iPhone, Android and tablets, to remain up-to-date as they watched their favorite teams. Users could look up any team stats, where their bracket stood, when the next game was and the point totals, all from the palm of their hands. Other apps similar to the NCAA.com app were ESPN, CBS Sports and ESPN Bracket Bound.
The use of applications has not only become a source of entertainment for users, but a source of data collection for its founders. During March Madness, apps were able to track the amount of excitement geared toward any one specific team, which was referred to as an “Excitement Quotient.” One app was able to rank teams and players, using an algorithm of course, by tracking statistics retrieved from satellite TV, computers, phones and tablets.
The shift in the way people participate in March Madness has certainly been “mad”. However, when the technology is right there and it is easy to use, why wouldn’t you be excited about it? Studies found that 25% of March Madness viewers would be tracking the games via streaming to a mobile device using an app. And for the low price of $3.99 (on average) how could you say no? Forecasts for next year’s March Madness have not yet been produced, but it will be interesting to watch the continuing shift to smaller, easier methods through mobile applications.