This year’s March Madness will have a lot more eyeballs in play. Millions more, according to CBS Sports and Turner Sports execs who boast that the NCAA College Basketball Championships will be available to more viewers on more devices plus a larger TV Everywhere Universe, Multichannel.com reports. CBS and Turner also are confident that consumers’ increased familiarity with authentication process will expand the overall audience for the tourney. NCAA March Madness gets underway Tuesday following today’s announcement of the 68-team field on CBS’ NCAA Baskeball Championship Selection Show. The Turner-produced NCAA March Madness live will offer free streaming of the 67 games comprising the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament across scads of online, mobile and tablet devices to pay TV subscribers. With social and interactive components, it will launch from ncaa.com/marchmadness, CBSSports.com and http://www.bleacherreport.com, along with Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The games beging with TruTV’s coverage of the First Four on March 19 and 20 and concludes with the national championship game in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome on April 8.
Turner execs said their TV Everywhere universe now exceeds 80 million households, up from 75 million at this time a year ago. Significantly, that total doesn’t count Time Warner Cable subscribers because Turner hasn’t been able to reach a longterm deal with TWC, but the companies have come to terms on an “interim solution” that that will allow TWC subscribers to stream games but no other programming during the tournament. Turner’s current TV Everywhere partners include Comcast, Verizon, Dish, Cox, AT&T, Direct TV, Cablevision, Charter, and a host of other providers. Viable gadgets this year include smart phones and tablets running on Android 4.0+ operating system, as well as iPhone5 and iPad mini — but no Blackberry or Windows devices. Users can watch the action on TNT, TBS and TruTV on their preferred digital device by logging in with their TV service provider information at NCAA March Madness Live, while all games on broadcast teammate CBS will be accessible without registration. Those who are not pay-TV subscribers will be able to watch up to four hours of live game streaming without registration.