There are a good amount of folks out there freaking out over the announcement that I read in SBJ this morning. The title of the article read “Fee Based Component Coming to March Madness Online.” Immediately Twitter was set ablaze with people throwing their hands in the air in disgust wondering why they needed to pay 3.99 to watch the NCAA tournament now. Upon an actual read of the press release it is clear to see the following:
- If you have TNT or TBS already, you will NOT need to pay the 3.99 fee to see every game online
- If you do NOT have TNT or TBS, you should have absolutely NO problem paying 3.99 to watch every game online
- When is the last time a NCAA Tournament game was NOT played on CBS, TBS or TNT? Not that I can remember, so if you have these channels, you are fine to watch (as you did last year) the games streaming online at work, for no charge.
- Games on CBS remain free at CBSSports.com
Last year it was called ‘March Madness on Demand,’ this year it will be called ‘March Madness Live.’
Here is the SBJ article:
Turner Sports is dramatically reworking its online coverage of the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament to include a distribution plan that features a fee-based component. The new March Madness Live, rebranded from March Madness On Demand, will work primarily on a TV Everywhere-based model in which games will still be available for free streaming online on an authenticated basis. For example, a tournament game shown on TBS can also be seen live and for free online by fans who get TBS on their cable or satellite system, and authenticate themselves through the channel’s website.
Fans who either cannot authenticate, or choose not to do so, can buy a $3.99 all-access pass that includes coverage of all 67 tournament games across all major digital platforms and includes live statistics and social media integration. Tournament games shown on CBS will remain free online at CBSSports.com.
And here is the Press Release in its entirety:
Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA today announced that NCAA® March Madness® Live, formerly March Madness on Demand, will now provide college basketball fans with more opportunities to watch every minute of every game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Produced by Turner Sports Interactive, NCAA® March Madness® Live is a suite of live products presented across multiple screens, including online and as an iPad, iPhone and iPod touch app and, for the first time, on Android phones.NCAA® March Madness® Live will be available to users across all video screens – online, mobile and tablet– and over Wi-fi and 3G for $3.99 beginning on March 7. Fans will be able to enjoy live streaming video of every broadcast for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as they are televised by TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, starting with the NCAA Basketball Selection Show on Sunday, March 11, and continuing through the Men’s Final Four® and National Championship Game from New Orleans on March 31 and April 2.NCAA® March Madness® Live will continue to be launched from NCAA.com, CBSSports.com and SI.com.NCAA® March Madness® Live will offer higher quality live video streams across platforms; video highlights for every game of the Tournament on the iPhone and Android phones; live game alerts for Android phones, as well as iPhones and iPads; an updated design; and live radio broadcast courtesy of Westwood One/Dial Global Radio Network, for all 67 games across the suite of digital products. In addition to the new offerings, NCAA® March Madness® Live will again provide the same fan-favorite features from last year including: schedules and live game scoring, live tournament brackets, personal channel lineup features, live stats, and live social companion views.The NCAA® March Madness® Live video player is presented by NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, Capital One and Coke Zero. To generate fan excitement leading into March Madness Live coverage, Coke Zero will provide a limited number of fans the opportunity to receive free NCAA® March Madness® access. The promotion launches the week of Feb. 20.“Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA are committed to providing the excitement of March Madness on as many screens as possible – television, online, mobile and tablets – for viewers to experience all of the exciting action of this great event wherever they are,” said Matthew Hong, senior vice president and general manager of operations for Turner Sports. “Combining TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV with the enhanced offerings of the new NCAA® March Madness® product provides fans with instantaneous on-the-go access ensuring they won’t miss a moment of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.”“We continue to look at ways to bring the tournament to more of our fan base and keep them connected to the excitement that culminates with the Final Four,” said NCAA interim executive vice president of championships and alliances Greg Shaheen. “NCAA® March Madness® Live is one of many options college basketball fans will have to watch this year’s tournament how they want, when they want.The 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship will be available through the following platforms:
- For the second consecutive year, all 67 games will be televised across four television networks in their entirety — TBS, CBS, TNT, and truTV.
- Turner will stream its linear television games online for free on an authenticated basis on the Turner websites (TBS.com, TNT.tv and truTV.com) for consumers who have a cable, satellite or telco subscription that includes these respective Turner networks. Authenticating this year’s Tournament across the Turner Networks is an extension of the company’s TV Everywhere initiative, which is currently available to over 75 million households.
- All games airing on CBS will be available for free on CBSSports.com.NCAA® March Madness® features include:· My Channels: Through My Channels, fans can easily find games using this personalized channel finder. By plugging in their zip code, users can select their TV provider and see their channel lineup for every game on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV.· The Game Center View: The Game Center view provides fans with a control center at their fingertips for live in-game stats such as player stats, team leaders, scoring streaks, biggest lead and foul trouble, depending on which device they use – along with a graphic lead tracker – and live social features.· The Coke Zero™ NCAA March Madness Social Arena: Extending the conversation beyond the broadcast, Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena will return as the social water cooler for March Madness conversation. New this year, features will be live across the entire NCAA March Madness suite of products and, for the first time, let fans grab key game moments and share them with friends and family. In addition, fans will be able to view social commentary from other fans and celebrities everywhere, answer live tournament trivia, and cheer for their favorite teams. The Coke Zero NCAA March Madness Social Arena will extend onto Coke Zero’s Facebook page – offering a complete video gallery of all fan-grabbed moments, complete access to specially-aggregated Twitter feeds of all 68 teams, a uniquely-visualized bracket view of the loudest fans, and more.NCAA March Madness will be played at 14 venues around the country beginning March 13. For more information, go to NCAA.com.Last year, more than 176 million people tuned into the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.