Roku: March Madness Streaming Up 88%

TV Streaming continues to score big during the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Nearly 60% traditional linear TV viewers did not return to watch the tournament via traditional TV, while TV streaming reach shot up 88% and hours viewed spiked 89%, compared to 2019, according to new data from Roku.

“After a year without [March Madness], fans were eager to welcome the games back and they did so through TV streaming,” Kristina Shepard, National Brand Team Lead at Roku, said in a statement. “The overwhelming viewership turnout we’re seeing on TV streaming showcases that streaming not only delivers audiences at scale, but it has become the preferred way for fans watch live sport events.”

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Specifically, Roku said TV streaming reach during Sweet 16 games was up 95% vs. 2019, while TV streaming reach during Elite Eight games was up 90% vs. 2019.

TV streaming captured viewership across the age spectrum. Shift in age distribution occurred at both extremes — 2021 streaming households were +14% more likely than 2019 streaming households to contain someone 18-24 and +22% more likely to contain someone 65+.

Indeed, Roku found that 59% of households that watched any of the rounds through the Elite Eight have not watched the tournament on traditional linear TV in 2021.

Roku said younger audiences continue to pivot from traditional linear TV, with TV reach for persons 18+ down 24% through the Elite Eight. Traditional linear TV reach for Sweet 16 was down 34% vs. 2019, while linear TV reach for Elite Eight was down 32% vs. 2019.

Users who did watch on linear, watched fewer games. The average traditional linear TV household has watched 6.5 games and 5.1 hours, vs. 6.66 games and 4.5 hours through the 2019 Elite Eight.

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