Diary of a Cord Cutter: March Madness Opens The Doors For OTT

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 3.27.2017

March Madness Live was for several years the pinnacle of giving customers what they want. Then they powers that be got greedy. Those powers being CBS and TBS Sports who will spend a combined $19.6 billion to broadcast the NCAA Tournament through 2032decided that a good user experience was just wrong. So they looked backward through the looking glass and forced people to sign in to their cable or satellite provider to watch games online. It wasn’t always like this but the move is a huge opportunity for OTT providers.

When March Madness was first streamed online, for free and without a cable or satellite subscription, it blew the doors off all of the predictions. People asked for it for years and when they finally got it, they responded in spades.

Over the last few years, i.e. since signing this massive deal, CBS and TBS Sports now allow you 3 hours of live streaming until you are forced to sign in with your cable or satellite subscription which of course more and more people do not have. You are allowed to watch the game that is on CBS broadcast channel (which they did stream for free without having to sign in unlike some other NBC does with Sunday Night Football) if you are a cord cutter but you miss out on the games on TBS, TNT and TrueTV.

This is music to the ears of OTT providers like Sling TV, PlaystationVUE and DirecTV Now. All of which offer TBS, TNT and TrueTV with prices ranging from  $25 to $35. A cord cutter could literally sign up for a month, spend $25 and watch all of the games without every having to go to the March Madness streaming website or app. Bonus, they can watch these channels anywhere they want too.

PlaystationVUE was advertising heavily on the March Madness streaming site. They even sponsored the ‘Boss Button’. So while they paid for advertising, they probably got a lot more people to sign up to their service taking people away from March Madness Live.

While these may not sound cheap options they are certainly cheaper than the typical cable and satellite subscription that CBS and TBS Sports are pushing you to.

This was an event cornered by March Madness Live and the logic must have been that since CBS and TBS Sports spent so much on the broadcasting rights that they felt compelled to push people back to a place where their margins are better. This in the end is short sighted thinking and shows that CBS and TBS Sports are not concerned about the end user in the slightest.

And it’s not like CBS and TBS Sports are not making their money on March Madness Live. They have plastered the sites with enough ad’s to make a Nascar fan dizzy and force you to watch a commercial every time you switched games. March Madness Live went from one of the best user experiences to one of the worst in matter of a few years.

It doesn’t matter now if March Madness Live changes its ways and reverts back to when all of the games where free. They have already lost and the OTT providers are coming on hard and welcoming users with open arms.  It is sad to see such a good thing shoot itself in the front due to backwards thinking but on the other hand, there are better options out there.


The Sunday – The Shots of March

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 3.26.2017


Sidney Crosby shows why he is one of the best players in his generation.

And so does LeBron James.

And oh is it pretty….

….when you include all of USMNT goals. All 6 of them.


The Madness Continues

Half of the Final Four is set with the other half being set today but Florida and Wisconsin reminded us why we love and hate this time of year.

Xavier may have lost a chance to go to the Final Four but this end of the half buzzer beater by J.P. Marcura is something to see. Even if it didn’t count.


Devin Booker dropped 70 points on the Boston Celtics this past week. 70!

The Sunday – Hot Shots

Compiled By Brad Hubbard | 3.19.2017

That Hurt

The only better than racing are the fights after the race. But then again, what else would expect after a long, hot afternoon in Las Vegas.

But this may have hurt more….

Watch Out

Cycling isn’t the world’s biggest sport which is why this woman out walking her dog probably had no idea that one of the sports best cyclists, Peter Sagan, was doing a time trial.

While upset at the time Sagan later joked about the incident when he posted this photo to his twitter account.


While many people did quite a few shots on St. Patrick’s Day was past Friday. One would have to argue that these shots were better.


Steph Curry Moment of the Week

The Sunday – Let The Madness Begin

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 3.12.2017

Powering Through The Madness

How bout the Michigan men’s basketball team. First their plane slides off the runway. They fly out the next morning and arrived a few hours before their game against Illinois. They only have their practice gear and the band borrows other folks instruments. Bottom line, they win the game 75-55. Not bad gentlemen. Not bad at all.

The Wolverines went on to win the Big Ten tournament and grab themselves a spot in the Big Dance.


He’s Kawhi Leonard and you’re not. So when you’re this good what happens? You get drug testing immediately after the game.


Steph Curry Moment Of The Week

Change In Reverse

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 3.4.2017

There has been an unspoken movement for years at all levels of sports. The movement is how to appeal to younger fans. They are trying everything from new technology to changing the rules of the game and yet they are no closer closer to solving their dilema. But they can in one swift move, lower ticket prices.

Taking less money seems like, on the surface at least, counter intuitive, but it isn’t. It may be the only way live sporting events can help reverse the tide of fans choosing to stay home and watch the game on TV vs shlepping their way to the stadium.

When you look at the costs of going to a live sporting event, it can get out of hand pretty quickly. From the tickets to the transportation to the food and drink. And for what? A chance to see your local team get faded by a superior team and then fight the traffic to get home?

If teams lower ticket prices they will increase demand even if it is artificial. The fact is that since 2008 people have become more aware of the financial relevance in the world. Spending hard earned money on something like a Tuesday night baseball game isn’t going to cut it. Now if the ticket price was a ‘reasonable’ level then that might be enough to sway the marginal fan. Once there, they will spend the money on food, booze, and merchandise. The teams will make up the revenue on the lower ticket price very, very quickly.

Look at it  this way, its about volume and not about financial level. Sports teams and organizations have this mentality that lowering the price for admission is somehow diminishing the product somehow. It’s not and never has been.

Lowering the cost of admission does one thing, puts butts in seats and to be completely honest, it’s a safe bet that the margins on alcohol sales are a heck of a lot better than that of a seat at the game.

Make no mistake, while all of this talk and execution of virtual reality, target digital marketing, etc is important it in the end is not going to turn the tide. Economics will turn the tide. Economics state that if demand falls then the price of the goood or service cannot sustain current levels. Let’s also not pretend that the owners of these teams and organizations are hurting for money either.