March Madness 2021 Is Most-Streamed Ever, So Far

Streaming of this year’s opening round of the NCAA March Madness tournament has set new records, according to Conviva. 

More than 1 billion minutes were streamed across 32 games in just two days, the streaming cloud platform reports, based on aggregated data from six streaming publishers and vMVPDs during the March 19 and 20 Madness games. 

In line with historical patterns, Day One of 2021’s Round 1 drew greater viewership than Day Two, accruing 5% more time spent (chart at top of page). 

Big screens where the viewing device of choice. TV streaming’s share of time-spent during Round 1 was 68% — up from 48% in 2019 and just 41% in the opening days of 2018. 



While PCs also lost share, the increase in TV came primarily at the expense of mobile viewing, which lost more than half of the share it commanded during the last March Madness opening round in 2019. 

“The pandemic-driven trend of in-home viewing and the overall, multi-year trend of increased streaming via televisions are undeniably significant factors in this shift,” notes the report. 

Roku commanded a 40% share of big-screen watch time, followed by Amazon Fire TV (26%), Samsung TV (10%) and Apple TV (8% share). LG TV and Xbox each tallied a 4% share, and Chromecast picked up 3%. Vizio, Android TV and each captured less than 2% share.


Social media engagement also soared during this year’s first round. 

Engagements per social post rose by an average 164% across teams in Round 1 as compared to the regular season. 

The Oral Roberts team saw 15 times growth in engagements per post versus the regular season, and VCU also netted quadruple-digit gains. 

Overall, teams tallied 3 million total cross-platform engagements over the two days, with Wisconsin, Syracuse, and Illinois taking the top three spots for total cross-platform engagements.

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