Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stop the Madness? Nah!

There are few days in the year where a sporting event dominates everything else. SuperBowl, Opening Day, some Olympic events... it's a short list no matter what. But what those don't have that March Madness has is day-to-night games on Thursday and Friday this week as the opening round gets played.

For hoops junkies and casual fans alike, it's a day to familiarize yourself with the refresh button (or the F5 button if you're into shortcuts) or find a TV to tune into. [Personally, I recommend Slingbox if you have the chance]

Ever wonder what the actual "costs" are to having so many millions of people tune out those two days? How about $1.7B, that's billion with a capital B.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago estimated this whole March Madness obsession at the workplace would cost more than $1.7 billion in lost productivity during this year’s tournament, but those numbers have the ring of exaggeration to them. True, close to 60 million Americans identify themselves as college basketball fans, but of course not all of their teams make the three-week tournament – nor do all of them work.


For the first time, is offering every game via Web video without making users register for the privilege. In past years, has streamed fewer games and, between 2003-2005, charged visitors for access to March Madness On Demand. In 2007, 1.4 million people registered to watch the games online at the site, but with the registration tossed aside, the numbers will soar.

Pretty lofty numbers for slacking to watch hoops, if you ask me. But what do I know, I have a TV in my office so it'd be on anyways.

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