2009 NCAA® MARCH MADNESS® ON DEMAND
ADDS HIGH-QUALITY VIDEO PLAYER
CBSSports.com selects Microsoft’s Silverlight technology to deliver first-ever live
and on-demand, high-definition quality video stream of a major sports event
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – February 17, 2009 – CBSSports.com, in partnership with CBS Sports and the NCAA, announced today that NCAA March Madness on Demand will have an additional, high-definition quality video player available for users when action from the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship begins on Thursday, March 19.
CBSSports.com has selected Microsoft Silverlight to power its new high-quality player to deliver the enhanced video stream. By downloading the new Silverlight high-quality player, users can upgrade their NCAA March Madness on Demand experience from the standard player (approx. 550 kb/s) to one delivering up to 1.5 mb/s of enhanced video action from the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
Both the standard video player and the high-definition quality option will be offered free of charge. For more information on 2009 NCAA March Madness on Demand and to download the Silverlight player for high-definition quality video, users can visit: ncaa.com/mmod.
“Offering a high-definition quality video player, as CBSSports.com has done with NCAA March Madness on Demand, is clearly the next stop in the evolution of online video coverage of major sporting events,” said Sean McManus, President, CBS Sports and CBS News. “This enhanced video offering will make the viewer experience that much more robust and serve as a perfect complement to the coverage on CBS Sports.”
“Coming off a huge success in 2008, we once again strived to improve MMOD for the millions of NCAA basketball fans watching on the Internet around the world,” said Jason Kint, Senior Vice President and General Manager, CBSSports.com. “This year, CBSSports.com is excited to break ground by providing a high-quality video experience, becoming the first media company to deliver a major sports event in this fashion.”
“Microsoft Silverlight is proud to be selected by CBS as the technology of choice for this year’s NCAA March Madness on Demand offering on CBSSports.com,” said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft Corp. “Our goal with this project is to help fans connect with their teams in the most fun and engaging ways possible. As we’ve proven, Silverlight excels during these types of high-traffic, online media events, so we’re more than ready to help make this year’s March Madness tournament coverage online the most dynamic, high quality and thrilling experience for viewers yet.”
NCAA March Madness on Demand (MMOD) is the Emmy award-winning video player that provides live streaming video and audio of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Since its inception in 2003, MMOD traditionally provided live video of the first 56 games, starting with the first round, of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as they were broadcast by CBS Sports, with local broadcasts being subject to blackouts. Beginning in 2008, MMOD started showing all 63 games, from the first round of the tournament through the semifinal and final games of the Men’s Final Four® making it the only major sporting event that is broadcast live and in its entirety for free on the Internet.
In 2008, there was 164% year-over-year growth in total unique visitors to NCAA March Madness on Demand (4.8 million total unique visitors to the NCAA March Madness on Demand video player) and 81% year-over-year growth in total hours of live video and audio consumed (5 million total hours of video consumed).
NCAA March Madness on Demand’s standard video player will launch on March 10 with historical highlights from past NCAA tournaments and be available at NCAA.com (ncaa.com/mmod) as well as via MMOD links on CBSSports.com.