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Let the data demand ‘Madness’ begin in basketball arenas and workplaces across the country.
The NCAA announced the teams participating in its postseason basketball tournament on Sunday, triggering the start of office pools, extended lunch hours and an incredible demand on company bandwidth.
The first two days of March Madness take place during work hours on Thursday and Friday and 86 percent of fans say they’ll watch games or check scores at work. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that American businesses stand to lose close to $4 billion in productivity over the entirety of the 16-day tournament.
Since CBS first struck a deal with Yahoo! In 2003 to offer live streaming of the tournament, the popularity of online viewing has skyrocketed. The Internet Innovation Alliance estimated more than 17 million total hours of streamed games online via computer, tablet or smartphone in 2012.
Smartphones and tablets changed the game in recent years. The tournament’s live-streaming games are accessible to office workers who have sports and entertainment sites blocked by employers, as well as those workers who aren’t in front of a computer during the workday.
After the first round of last year’s tournament, comScore measured a 79 percent increase in traffic to sports-related internet content. Twenty percent of that traffic came from non-computer devices.
“The NCAA Tournament, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics, is one of those events where sports fans don’t want to miss a beat of the action – especially if they can’t be in front of a TV,” said comScore senior director Debbie Bradley. “Over the past several years we’ve seen fans become more reliant on the web for NCAA tournament coverage, especially while they’re tied to their desks at work during the first round matchups.”
IT professionals are asked to help combat that lost productivity while protecting the office network. According to a Braun Research survey, 65 percent say their company attempts to hinder or prevent streaming video content at the office; 42 percent say they monitor employees who are trying to access video streams and 34 percent report that employees’ game-watching has shut down their networks.
Of course, those IT professionals could leave those concerns to the staff at Online Tech. Our managed servers and cloud hosting services include high availability power and network infrastructures, a 100-percent uptime service level agreement and 24×7 monitoring and management!
Here’s another service you probably didn’t expect Online Tech to offer: Help filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket. We handicapped the field a little differently than most prognosticators, however, forgoing records, statistics and matchups for the US News & World Report’s ranking of the world’s best computer science programs.
In our bracket, California beats Harvard in the title game. They may be No. 12 and No. 13 seeds in the tournament, respectively, but they’re No. 4 and No. 5 on the US News & World Report rankings. So until MIT or Carnegie Mellon builds a better basketball program, that’s our pick.
Other teams to watch: UCLA (#12), Illinois (#20) and Michigan (#43).