Looking to build on the record performance from a year ago, Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA are rolling out an enhanced version of streaming platform NCAA March Madness Live.
The completely redesigned app showcases a sleeker design, improved navigation, a greater emphasis on social media, an all-new GameCenter experience and a new “run” game. There are also new sections focused on providing fans with more content on the tournament and this year's 68 combatants than ever before.
From Selection Sunday on March 15 to the national championship game in Indianapolis on April 6, users will be able to watch all of the action via March Madness Live accessible from www.ncaa.com/marchmadness, www.CBSSports.com, www.bleacherreport.com, CBS Sports App, Bleacher Report’s Team Stream, the App Store, the Amazon App Store, Windows Store and Google Play on Thursday, March 12.
The 2014 version of March Madness Live netted a record 69.7 million live video streams, totaling over 15 million hours of consumed live video. Executives expect those figures to be eclipsed this go-round given the enhanced system, additional content and the nation's growing TV Everywhere uptake.
“It’s much more of a companion experience. There is improved discoverability when watching live game video,” said Hania Poole, senior director, product management and operations at March Madness Live, at NCAA Media Day in Manhattan on March 10.
Poole said this year’s enhanced platforms more facilely melds live game streaming, with archival video, tournament-field-tied rankings and statistics (pictured), plus social networking elements.
"The varied elements are more seamlessly integrated this year." In the past, users had to “swipe away” from the live game streaming to view the other content, Poole said.
At the same time, those only interested in the action can maximize the screen and focus on the ballgame, she demonstrated during Media Day.
Poole also pointed out that Buick is back for sophomore season as sponsor of the sometimes essential “boss button,” whether the authority figure hovers at work, in the classroom, or at home. To that end, she showed how NCAA March Madness Live now offers spread sheet, student notes and general search facings to assist the user in avoiding platform detection when they should be attending to what some may deem to be more important matters.
As has been the case, the CBS contests are available for all to stream. However, authentication is required for the games airing on TNT, TBS and truTV. Poole said Turner will once again encourage TV Everywhere sign-up with messaging that will appear during preview periods: three-hour windows are available per device.
On the ad sales side, officials say the inventory is sold out. NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, Capital One and Coke Zero are the co-presenting sponsors of the platform. As mentioned, Buick is in the game with the Boss button, as well as with Capital One and Coke Zero as thel sponsors of the NCAA March Madness Live App for iPhone and iPad, For their part, AT&T, Capital One and Infiniti are supporting the Android app. The telco will also serve as presenting sponsor for the Windows app. Buick, Infiniti and LG Electronics are NCAA Corporate Partners.
The following are the partners’ descriptions of some of the new key components of NCAA March Madness Live
*“Teams” Section – The new teams section allows fans to follow their favorite team throughout the tournament with stats, video content, a season recap/snapshot, team roster and information outlining upcoming tournament match-ups.
*“Featured” Section – For the first time, fans will be able to view content that captures the story lines classic tournament moments, match-up analysis, top plays, press conference coverage, featured video content and more.
*GameCenter – The epicenter of NCAA March Madness Live has been reengineered to give fans more ways to watch live games on smartphones - allowing video viewing in both portrait and landscape orientations. In addition, companion content on smartphones and tablets, such as team and player stats and social content from the Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena, is more dynamic and more discoverable than ever before.
*Capital One NCAA Tournament Run – A new game available at ncaa.com/tournamentrun that allows fans to stay competitive in the tournament after a busted bracket. To play, users must answer questions about each game match-up throughout the tournament to accumulate points and create the longest “run.”
*Capital One NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge – This year, the official bracket game of March Madness – available via desktop, smartphones and tablets – is upgrading with new game features and more tools to help fans make their bracket picks. In addition, this is the only bracket game to integrate access to the live video stream of every match-up during the tournament.