Even with layoffs and fewer people in offices these days, NCAA Tournament bracket pools are thriving and the tournament is still a big draw online.
According to Fort Lauderdale-based CBSSports.com, which first launched its March Madness on Demand streaming video online in 2003, traffic was up 60 percent from 2008 during the first four days of the tournament. The company, which made the product free and advertising-supported in 2006 and registration-free last year, 5.6 million unique visitors logged into the video player and users have watched and listened to 6.5 million hours of video and audio – a 71 percent increase from 2008.
Even the “boss button,” which allows office workers to quickly call up a spreadsheet so their bosses don’t know they’re watching the tournament, was clicked 2.5 million times during the tournament's first four days -- that's the same number that clicked the boss button during the entire tournament last year.
The product, which now includes an HD version of the video player, is available across a variety of other Web sites, including YouTube, ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, MySpace and Facebook. And advertisers continue to support it in large numbers. Ad revenues in 2006 were about $4 million and rose to $23 million in 2008. CBSSport.com expects those figures to rise more than 30 percent this year.
Meanwhile, bracket fun continues. Dunkin’ Donuts announced its ExtraOrdinary Eight donuts this week:
(1) Glazed vs. (9) Jelly
(2) Old Fashioned vs. (10) Coconut
(3) Boston Kreme vs. (11) Blueberry
(13) Strawberry Frosted vs. (5) Chocolate Glazed – Can “The Straw” stir C-Glaze’s drink?
Want to follow the Facebook discussion on this? Find it here.
Those of you who know me well, know I have a giant sweet tooth, but doughnuts just aren’t my thing. However, I’m still stunned that Jelly beat Powdered in the first round. Anyone else with me on this?
And finally, thanks to Toby Srebnik, who came up with Dunkin’s Sweet 16, for pointing me in the direction of another gustatory bracket at Washingtonian.com – this one pits burger joints.