March Madness is coming to YouTube, with the launch of the first official channel dedicated to updates from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on the Google-owned video service. But to watch full games online, you’ll still need a pay-TV subscription.
The new channel, at YouTube.com/MarchMadness, is managed by Turner Sports under its pact with the NCAA. The channel will offer real-time highlights and recaps from all 67 games of this year’s tournament, which kicks off March 17. Additional content will include live press conferences, game previews and analysis, and daily news and notes from the tournament, culled from TV coverage airing across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.
For YouTube, the deal represents the kind of relatively high-value media partnership it’s hoping to replicate as the site looks to diversify its revenue stream and maintain its No. 1 status as the Internet’s biggest video destination. Challengers to YouTube’s dominance, including Facebook, have come to the fore in recent months with an increasing focus on video.
The NCAA and Turner, meantime, are looking to draft off YouTube’s large user base to expand the reach of the tourney. “Tapping into the power and reach of YouTube’s video platform opens up new opportunities for us to grow interest and consumption of March Madness,” said Mark Johnson, Turner Sports’ VP of business operations.
At launch, the March Madness YouTube channel includes archival video clips from the 2014 tournament, including Ohio State U.’s defeat at the hands of U. of Dayton (pictured, above) and Mercer U.’s upset of Duke U.
Additional college hoops content coming to the YouTube channel also will be hosted on NCAA.com. The digital lineup is slated to include “Dunk of the Day,” a daily video clip presented by Oreo; a highlight reel of the best moments from this year’s 2015 Naismith College Player of the Year winner, sponsored by AT&T; “Solve of the Day,” presented by UPS, a feature that will identify potential upsets; and “Starting Lineup,” sponsored by Reese’s, a daily video update previewing that day’s action.
Again this year, Turner Sports’ March Madness Live will provide live feeds of all tournament games via the Internet, but to access the service, users must subscribe to participating cable, satellite and telco TV affiliates.
On TV, Turner Sports and CBS Sports will once again divvy up live, national TV coverage of all 67 tournament games across four networks — TBS, CBS, TNT and TruTV, beginning Tuesday, March 17, with the NCAA First Four on TruTV. This year’s NCAA Final Four semifinals will be televised Saturday, April 4, on TBS, with CBS to broadcast the national championship on Monday, April 6.
NCAA also operates an on-demand YouTube channel with select video highlights and replays of some classic March Madness games.