March Madness: Broadband Transforms Sports - Network:On

March Madness: Broadband Transforms Sports

Broadband Transforms Everything
Published March 25, 2024

Across America, access to the Internet is transforming economies, connecting communities, and unlocking a better future for all. 

Will you be joining the 1.3 million viewers who are likely to stream the March Madness tournament? Over the last two years, the tournament has seen a major jump in the number of viewers who will be watching from smartphones, laptops, tablets, and streaming devices. According to a Stillman School of Business poll, seven percent streamed in 2022 and 13 percent in 2023.

America’s Excellent Internet is transforming the world of sports. But it isn’t just changing the way sports are consumed. The Internet has also provided new ways for fans to interact with teams and each other. 

In January, the AFC Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins became the single most-viewed streaming event in history, with an estimated 27.6 million viewers. By 2025, the number of Americans who stream a sports event at least once a month will rise to 90 million.

The Internet has also allowed franchises to connect with a global audience on a massive scale, bringing together new fans from around the world and changing the way that teams approach international engagement. 

Looking ahead to this summer’s Olympics in Paris, this revolution in sports streaming will also give fans new opportunities to watch the events that they want when they want and engage with viewers from around the world. NBC Universal has announced that they will stream every event, with an anticipated 5000 hours of coverage. 

Last year, Major League Soccer announced a first-of its kind partnership with Apple, giving customers the ability to stream every match without blackouts or restrictions.

Digital connectivity has also transformed fans from consumers to engaged participants, providing new ways to get closer to their teams. From podcasts, to betting apps, to behind-the-scenes content from players and franchises on social media and elsewhere, it is no longer enough to sit back and watch the game. Since its legalization in 2018, sports betting revenues have grown to $10 billion annually, largely driven by app-based wagers. Meanwhile, about 80% of Gen Z fans follow a professional athlete on social media.

In this new era, access to reliable, affordable Internet is critical for fans around the country to enjoy the sports they love. Whether you filled out your March Madness brackets on your work desktop, or you plan to stream the games at home, #AmericasExcellentInternet is changing the game. 

Connectivity is no longer a siloed industry – broadband transforms everything.