CBSSports.com--which is streaming all 63 games of the Men's NCAA basketball tournament--says it streamed more than 3.4 million hours of live video coverage of Thursday's opening round to 3 million unique viewers, a single-day traffic record for a sports event on the Internet. The network last year reported it streamed 4.8 million hours for the entire tournament.
The BYU-Florida double OT game was the biggest draw Thursday, with more than 521,000 hours of streaming video; the biggest draw last year on opening day was 348,000 hours of streaming for Washington vs. Mississippi State.
CBS's coverage of the tournament should serve as a template for coverage of other live sporting events: it serves fans and advertisers well and has created a fan base of its own. With no pay walls and no hoops to jump through for viewers, it's a prime example of consumer-friendly content presentation.
The CBS effort is a far cry from NBC's woeful coverage of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which offered only a small selection of events live.
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