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Gambling, Streaming Traffic Up During Men's College Basketball Tourney

Written by

Chris Nicholson

April 12, 2021

Chris Nicholson is a senior public relations manager at Akamai, where he leads PR efforts for the company's Media & Entertainment industry business. He's been on the technology side of the M&E; industry for more than 15 years, first as a trade journalist and then in several corporate communications, public relations and marketing roles with organizations including the National Association of Broadcasters, SeaChange International and most recently, Brightcove.

 

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.



Written by

Chris Nicholson

April 12, 2021

Chris Nicholson is a senior public relations manager at Akamai, where he leads PR efforts for the company's Media & Entertainment industry business. He's been on the technology side of the M&E; industry for more than 15 years, first as a trade journalist and then in several corporate communications, public relations and marketing roles with organizations including the National Association of Broadcasters, SeaChange International and most recently, Brightcove.