As I write this blog entry, the NCAA basketball tournament is just getting underway. My Ducks are a number one seed as the men’s Pac-12 champions so I will be watching their progress closely. This is the time of year that information technology departments send out their obligatory “don’t stream basketball games over the company internet” message. So, what is a die-hard bracket watching basketball fan to do—take a two week vacation from work? Is there another way to keep up on the drama and still be a productive worker?
NCAA March Madness Live
I was at a technical conference last week during the final games of the Pac-12 championship. People were streaming or monitoring the score of the game on tablets and smartphones. I learned that NCAA March Madness Live is a free app that allows users to live-stream games. The added tournament bracket also provides the schedule, scores, and stats, reporting the action via video highlights and photos.
ESPN Tournament Challenge
For bracket-building, this app shows the entire live bracket and lets you make your own picks, which you can then share with your friends. This app provides alerts to keep you updated on the status of your bracket. This is an easy way to build and monitor the office pool.
If you are traveling during the tournament but you want to root for the home team, there is the Fanatic app. This is a free app available for Android or iPhone devices. It can connect you to fans of your team in the area, including information on nearby sports bars loyal to your team. It also lets you invite friends to watch the game with you, and can help you plan a party if you’d rather watch at home.
While not just for March, this app allows you to find and listen to hundreds of radio stations so that you have your ear buds in and still appear to be working although you are listening to the big game. If you can multitask, this may be your best option for getting through March with your job intact. You can configure channels so that you can easily find relevant content for sports or other entertainment.
You can watch games on television with apps available for Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV. Of course, if you are not taking two weeks off to watch the tournament and you are heeding the advice of your friendly IT person about office streaming, you can always record games to watch AFTER work. Technology has given us a lot of options.
In a recent calculation by consulting firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, the lost productivity due to March Madness could equal $1.9 billion. I am not encouraging that number to go any higher but I have given you some options for tracking the progress of the NCAA tournaments without using all of the company bandwidth and your time.
Do you know of other apps that keep you connected and informed? Which team do you predict will win the final game on April 4? For me, it’s the Ducks all the way.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.