US basketball fans dramatically increased their access of sports content across all three primary screens for web access – computer, Tablet and smartphone – as they tried to stay plugged into the first 32 games of the NCAA college basketball tournament in real-time, according to the results of a study of web usage related to the 2012 NCAA tournament, based on data from comScore Device Essentials.
As part of the study, comScore analyzed computer versus non-computer traffic (predominantly smartphones and Tablets) for the Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament, compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays and Fridays. The data showed that nearly double the percentage of Sports category content was consumed on non-computer devices as other content categories.
For all time periods studied, the percentage of Sports category traffic coming from non-computer devices was approximately 20 per cent, while other categories saw approximately 10 per cent of traffic coming from these devices. Friday, 16 March, the second day of the tournament action, saw non-computer Sports category traffic peak at 22.1 per cent.
“The NCAA Tournament, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics, is one of those events where sports fans don’t want to miss a beat of the action – especially if they can’t be in front of a TV,” says Debbie Bradley, senior director at comScore. “Over the past several years, we’ve seen fans become more reliant on the web for NCAA tournament coverage, especially while they’re tied to their desks at work during the first round matchups. As media formats continue to evolve, we’re rapidly seeing America’s national college basketball obsession increasingly bleed over to other screens like smartphones and Tablets. Given the emphasis large advertisers place on these events, it’s important to consider how other media channels can be leveraged to maximize a brand’s awareness, and its communication with the consumer.”
During the first day of opening round NCAA tournament games on Thursday, 15 March, total sports-related traffic jumped 79 per cent, compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays. In comparison, total traffic to all other web content fell by 2 per cent. The most significant gain in sports content consumption occurred via Tablets at 94 per cent, while smartphone activity jumped 83 per cent, and computer traffic jumped 77 per cent.
It was a similar story on Friday, 16 March, though the gains were not quite as steep as the previous day across all access screens, probably because of the greater interest in the tournament on the opening day. However, gains in both smartphones and Tablets were notably higher than computers in relation to Thursday, which comScore believes may reflect sports fans’ greater likelihood of being on-the-go on Friday, perhaps due to the increased likelihood of taking a vacation day or an extended lunch break at the local sports bar.