About 20% of the Web traffic for the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament came from smartphones and tablets, according to a new comScore study. The research looked at browser-based views in the sports category on March 15 and 16 -- when the tournament kicked off -- across PC and mobile screens.
On March 15, sports-related traffic jumped 79% compared to the average of the prior three Thursdays. The biggest gain was on tablets, at 94%, while smartphone activity was up 83%, and computer traffic increased 77%. Similar audience spikes across the three screens were seen on March 16.
CBS this year imposed paywalls for access to live NCAA games on mobile phone and tablet devices regardless of whether consumers subscribe to cable, satellite or telco services. The network had previously offered free online access to all games, including on the iPad last year for the first time, since 2006. Without the paywall barrier, viewership on tablets and smartphones might have been even higher.