Gambling, Streaming Traffic Up During Men's College Basketball Tourney
Baylor wasn't the only big winner in the 2021 men's college basketball tournament.
Gambling industry-related web traffic delivered by Akamai jumped 31% over the category average for all of Q4 2020 on March 31st. That was the day after the field of four finalists - Baylor, Houston, Gonzaga and UCLA - was set. Traffic leading up to the championship was comparatively subdued, peaking at a modest 8% above average prior to the game.
Video streaming numbers for the tournament were also up notably compared to 2019. According to a Deadline story, Roku reported "viewing on its platform of the [men's college] Basketball Tournament rose 75% over 2019 levels." (The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19.) The story added that "Roku households streaming channels carrying tournament games during their live window, increased by almost 87%,"
Meanwhile, traditional broadcast viewing of the championship game was down 14% from the 2019 final, with an average of 16.9 million viewers, reported CNBC. That made it "the least-watched championship aired on CBS since the network started broadcasting the games in 1982."
In February, Akamai observed a 40% increase in gambling traffic preceding the NFL conference finals and championship game, respectively.
Following Super Bowl LV, rights holder CBS Sports announced it streamed more than 1 billion total minutes to an average of 5.7 million viewers per minute. This was the 10th year of live streaming for the league championship.