It’s that time of year again — time for the top NCAA men’s basketball teams to battle it out through a month-long tournament in March and April. Just like in previous years, all games in this year’s March Madness will be streamed live online. But the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will also be available free for live streaming on Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad mobile devices.
The month-long basketball action begins with Selection Sunday on March 13, during which the 68-teams for the tournament will be selected, and National Bracket Day on March 14, when the bracket is created. The first games will begin streaming on March 15 and March 16, with the Second and Third Rounds of basketball running through the rest of the week, to March 20. The NCAA Sweet 16 games will run the following week, on March 24 and 25, with the Elite Eight round of the tournament matches being played on the 26th and 27th. Finally, the Final Four and National Championship matchups will take place on April 2 and April 4, respectively.
All of the action will be available on the NCAA’s March Madness on Demand site online. Or, if viewers want to watch the games on their mobile devices, the tournament will have a free iPhone app for the first time. Also a first is the tournament’s being streamed on the iPad, which was first introduced around the same time the tournament began last year.
March Madness on Demand continues to grow in popularity every year, with last year’s tournament posting record viewership online after just the first four days of games. Much of the viewership for the tournament comes in the early rounds of the tournament, when games are streamed during workdays. In previous years, because CBS exclusively owned the rights to the tournament, not all games were broadcast on TV. But this year, through a joint partnership with Turner Sports, games will also be shown on cable networks TBS, TNT and truTV. However, with even more devices through which viewers can watch games, it’s unlikely to reduce Internet viewership.