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Employers, say goodbye to workplace productivity this month – the 2015 NCAA March Madness Tournament is expected to break some pretty impressive records. And we’re not talking about points or free throws! In fact, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, from the time the field of 68 teams is announced on March 15, or Selection Sunday, to the time the title game is played on April 6, “the cost in terms of lost wages paid to distracted and unproductive workers could reach as high as $1.9 billion.” Between the 60 million Americans filling out brackets and the first two days (or 12 games) of the tournament taking place during work hours, it’s obvious who the real loser of the tournament is – employers!
That being said, work productivity numbers aren’t the only figures taking huge jumps. According to Turner Sports, NCAA March Madness Live, the online streaming service for the NCAA tournament, delivered 69.7 million live video streams in 2014, which is the equivalent to about 15 million hours of office downtime. If that doesn’t get your pulse racing, this will – executives expect that those numbers will get eclipsed this year! Why? Hania Poole, senior director, product management and operations at March Madness Live, argues that the omnipresence of video anytime and anywhere in combination with the enhanced, more seamlessly integrated March Madness Live system will have a huge impact on viewership figures. The enhanced system will feature archived videos, tournament-field-tied rankings and statistics, new content, and social networking components.
With those viewership numbers in mind, marketers are capitalizing on the digital opportunity revolving around March Madness – particularly, platform sponsors like Capital One, Coke Zero, Infiniti, and AT&T. The bad news? Officials say digital inventory for NCAA March Madness Live is officially sold out. But don’t give up yet! There’s still time for some social engagement. According to the NCAA, 7.7 million social media comments about the tournament are made during telecasts. So get involved in the conversation, extend your reach, and possibly get a few new eyeballs on your brand. Oh, and one more thing! Join your fellow March Madness loving Americans and get in the game by downloading this NCAA bracket for your upcoming bracket battles. Good luck!