Time to eat crow. My Crimson Tide lost to the Florida Gators over the weekend. While it was a heartbreaker, the enormity of this game gave me the opportunity to contact Jason Kint, senior vice president and general manager at CBSSports.com, to see how well it performed online.
CBS remains tight-lipped about exactly how many people tuned in to watch the game online on Saturday. Kint said that the number was small, but for a big game like the SEC Championship, which was going to be on television, CBS doesn’t need them to be big. “It’s not cannibalistic, it’s additive,” Kint said. “Most people are going to watch it on TV, and the online audience then is entirely additive. SEC Championship is a small number, but it’s incremental.”
While the number of people who logged on may not have been huge, the time they spent online was (at least in terms of other online video). According to Kint, the average time spent per viewer watching the Alabama vs. Florida game was “north of 60 minutes.”
Over the past year CBS has put marquee live sporting events like March Madness, the U.S. Open tennis finals and the SEC championship online. CBS has learned that to get an “off the chart” number of online viewers, the event needs to have multiple games going on that can’t be shown solely on one network, or the event has to be played during traditional work hours. This makes sense, as people will gravitate to the largest screen available for sporting events.
Next year, CBS will also expand the functionality it implemented for March Madness and let people embed live video from other sporting events onto their own pages, Kint said.