Why Blacking Out March Madness Online Doesn't Make Sense

from the bracket dept

It’s no secret that this time of year, many people are splitting their attention between whatever they’re doing and the NCAA college basketball tournament. The internet has obviously had a big impact on how people monitor and manage their brackets, while CBS, which televises the games, has generally received kudos for streaming many of the games over the web. But there remain problems with the service. Michael Mace recounts his frustration after CBS’ site denied him from watching a game on his laptop because it was currently being shown by the local CBS affiliate. The thinking behind the internet blackout is that the local affiliate doesn’t want to lose viewers to people watching it over the web, but it’s hard to imagine that this is a real threat. After all, would anyone choose to watch a game streamed to their computer if they were at a TV? The majority of people who would choose to watch a game over the computer in a market where it’s being shown on TV, are those who, for whatever reason, can’t get to the TV. After being denied the video and finding that CBS’ “glog” (game blog) was malfunctioning, Mace said he was forced to simply watch a scoreboard that was being refreshed every 15 seconds. With all of the money and effort that CBS has put behind its website, it’s depressing that that’s the best thing that was available.

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Comments on “Why Blacking Out March Madness Online Doesn't Make Sense”

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Sohrab says:

this is an interesting article and something to think about because like you said, if there is a TV near by, you can have as sweet of a setup as you want but watching it on the TV is something else so if anything, while watching it on the web, if it were the same broadcast as the TV, then their reaching more viewers and their being exposed to the same adds and such.

dazcon5 says:


TOUGH SHIT!! WHaaa poor babies…
The sheepoeple in this country need to learn not to pay so much attention, time and money to sports. You have people getting paid millions to play a game, while we can’t even pay our public school teachers a decent living wage.
If you can read this thank a teacher…
It’s in English so thank a soldier…



Because thes college athletes are making so much money? No. If it wasn’t for soldiers we would be speaking another language? If it wasn’t for all the money we spent on soldiers, we would have more money for teachers’ salaries.

What’s wrong with French or Latin or Mandarin anyway? Why are so many people in the country absolutely obsessed with English?

Anonymous Coward says:


Why are so many people in this country absolutely obsessed with English? – This is America, English is our native language. If you were in France, it would be French.

True – if we didn’t spend all that money on soldiers then we would have money to pay the teachers’ salaries, but what kind of schools would we have if we didn’t spend all that money on soldiers? What would have happened in WWI or WWII, would we have been run over by another nation and currently speaking their language?

Raptor85 (profile) says:


@AC :America doesn’t have an official language, a few of our states though have passed “english” as an official language, and some have “english + spainish” as official, louisiana has “english + french” both recognised as official, hawaii has “hawaiian + english” . Many states have their official documents in dozens of languages.

back on topic, this is increadibly stupid of CBS. The main point of being able to watch online is that you dont have access to a TV or a station that’s currently playing the game. Just yet another case of the old media companies trying desperately to control how people view their content, just like other outdated media they view the internet as a threat to their buisness instead of a tool to further it.

Chaue Shen says:

Back on topic

It occurs to me that blacking out the internet has more to do with dysfunctional metrics than anything else. The metrics by which stations must measure their success is by nielson ratings which measures….. tv’s showing march madness.

If there’s even 0.5% of the tv population watching over the net over the tv that’s a loss no matter how many people watch over the net becuase they don’t have access to tv.

Blame the metrics.

That guy says:

The bigger blame

should be on CBS’s lack of a more unified advertising system. TV looks at ad revenue as National ads, local ads, and Internet ads.

If CBS had a holistic advertising strategy they could wrap up their national ad packages to include online broadcasts, and mix in some ad banners. Then they could work with their local affiliates to make sure their local ads were regional streamed to those watching online, thus alleviating the fear of loss ad revenue.

Matthew says:


If you had a laptop, or a really nice pc setup you might watch the game and not pay attention to the commercials on the local affiliate. They can’t have you not watching the TV and bringing in numbers they use to manipulate product advertisers and bring in cash.

They don’t care that you’re watching the game via CBS’ web site; they aren’t in it for the game itself.

Dave says:

works great for me

I have really enjoyed the improved coverage this year. Maybe because I live in Thailand and I can get all the games. It is seventh heaven for me. If I were in the States, I would still watch all of the games on the net since you can switch from one to the other with a click of the button. At least that is what I do here in Thailand. Now, after reading these gripes, maybe I wouldn’t have the luxury I do here.

Overall, CBS has made BIG improvements over last year. The games stream flawlessly at less than ideal bandwidths here. The commercials, for some odd reason, don’t play well. They cause the video to slow down and sometimes stop.

Bull Shifter says:


Not showing games considered in the “local” market protects the local affiliates by ensuring that their local ads are viewed by anyone watching that particular game. If local station WXYZ has reduced viewership then it loses ad money based on the number of people watching that station. Also, I don’t have much sympathy for those viewers who, for whatever reason, can’t get to an idiot box since they should probably at their desks working anyway. Another case of “I’ve got all this free stuff, but I want it ALL.”

As far as the cute remarks by the Black In-fant-del, let’s see….. we are in the USA. Back in the day there was no “obsession”, as you so succinctly put it, with English due to the fact that the “legal” immigrants who came here assimilated into OUR society. Now, some feel we must bend and cater to the new wave of illegals by, in a sense, telling them that it’s not necessary to learn english. Is it wrong to have standards and expectations that have to be met before citizenship is granted? In a nutshell….. NO!!

Lastly, as a retired Marine, I along with most everyone else involved in the defense of this country will go to the grave defending your absolute right to make a total jackass out of yourself with your ignorant observations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sorry, but maybe I missed this in college while I was in class earning a PHD, but I thought college was about academics, not sports.

Be glad that I’m not the president of a university. I would tell all of the sports teams to hang it up and go to class and earn a degree with a 4.0 (5.0 for the schools that go that way) and then allow them to be eledgable for the NCAA. I can care less about alumni, or boosters. they drag the school down with their requests for favors and palm greasing.

I had a booster come to me during an intermission of a class and asked me to play a sport. He offered me all kinds of great stuff… I had him put in jail and had the school’s NCAA sanction removed for it.

Come to my business and waste my $$ on your diversions and I will fire you. I don’t joke about this stuff. Last year I fired 20 people because they wasted company time on sports. I have fired numerous people for shopping, checking bank accounts, etc. Funy thing is… I typically don’t care, but if I ask for someething, I better get it yesterday. and if I do not, I will crawl into your life and find out what you were doing instead of getting me what I asked for. Then I fire your ass in front of everyone and make an example of you.

Piss Off

Bull Shifter says:

Re: Re:

Come to my business and waste my $$ on your diversions and I will fire you.

You’re setting one heck of an example, AC

“Sorry, but maybe I missed this in college while I was in class earning a PHD……allow them to be eledgable for the NCAA.”

You have a doctorate in something? It sure wasn’t English.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“You have a doctorate in something? It sure wasn’t English.”

You are correct… I have a doctorate in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Sports still have no place im my building, nor does anything else other than the work at hand. I have even fired staff for having a birthday parties. Once was for me… Sorry… not a workplace event. Take it outside the company walls.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

English soldiers

If it was not for the British, all the Yankees would be speaking Dutch. Then the British soldiers saved the americans from speaking French (think how badly Americans would handle French based on the quality of the English generally used), for which the Americans were so ungrateful the not only refused to pay for the war, but rebelled with the help of the French. To top this off, the Americans then assisted French rebels (i.e. Napolen) against the government which helped the USA to independence (King Louis) by blockade-running and invading Canada.

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