From the UD Arena to the Alamodome: Livestreaming March Madness Live 2018

iStreamPlanet partnered with Turner Sports for the second year to livestream the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship via March Madness Live or MML. The single elimination tournament is famous – or perhaps infamous – for fans livestreaming games on company computers during work hours (thanks, boss button!), on mobile devices during their commute, and really anywhere they happen to be when a game is live. To meet this fan demand for high availability and high-quality streams, Turner Sports relied on iStreamPlanet’s end-to-end media solution.

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MML experience on desktop with companion ad content.

One of the biggest challenges of March Madness Live is scale. The demand is huge, games are played concurrently, and fans want to watch them all live. The sheer bulk of games in a short period of time – 67 games in 15 days – and logistics – 14 venues with up to 4 concurrent games at any time – creates one of the most challenging live sporting events to deliver. iStreamPlanet worked with Turner Sports to deliver a robust technology stack that not only supported the massive viewership, but also delivered the highest quality video output.

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iStreamPlanet Ad Logger inserts ads during MML using the Digital Control Panel (DCP) in Las Vegas, NV.

iStreamPlanet and Turner Sports innovated for months to deliver the enhanced 2018 MML livestreaming experience for fans. Improvements were carefully planned and deployed across the board leading up to the Big Dance. Enhancements this year included more fluent game motion, thanks to 60 frames-per-second (fps) livestreaming on connected devices (up from 30 fps in 2017). Fans also enjoyed the best possible quality video for their devices with platform- and device-optimized stream delivery. Improved workflow monitoring tools lead the highest quality video delivery from the arena all the way to the fans’ devices, while fully diverse, multi-region and multi-cloud workflows including Google Cloud Platform boosted stream reliability.

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Behind the scenes in Las Vegas, NV, iStreamPlanet monitors concurrent MML games.

"During the NCAA Tournament, fans increase their viewing habits across multiple platforms so with the high volume of games and additional content available, we wanted to make sure we could support and sustain that level of usage,” said Hania Poole, Vice President/GM, NCAA Digital at Turner Sports. “Working with our trusted partner iStreamPlanet allowed us to deliver high quality streams to millions of fans.”
  • NCAA March Madness Live generated over 19 million live hours of consumption for this year’s tournament, the second most in history. MML saw increases in live streams (up 6%) and hours consumed (up 6%) compared to the entire tournament in 2016, the last time the Final Four aired on Turner networks.
March Madness Live 2018 Press Release