The apocalypse starts at 12:20 Thursday (11:20 Central)

Or maybe not. At least there doesn’t seem to be quite as much panic preceding the tipoff of today’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament games–or specifically the live online coverage of the contests–as there was last year.

Last year, as you may recall, CBS Sports’ announcement that it would provide NCAA tournament coverage online for free prompted numerous gloomy predictions of the negative impact such an act was sure to produce in terms of lost productivity. On top of that was the anticipated impact on companies’ IT systems as millions of crazed hoops junkies used company computers to get their fix.

Well, not having been barred by Congress from engaging in activities posing such an obvious threat to the well-being of U.S. business, CBS is at it again this year, having doubled its bandwidth to accommodate the anticipated increased demand.

CBS Sports says last year’s free online coverage produced 19 million video streams and five million site visits. This year, in addition to a video player 50% larger than last year’s, CBS again will include a “boss button,” allowing basketball fans to switch the image on their monitor to a benign looking spreadsheet with a single keystroke should the boss happen by.

Why would anyone be concerned about a threat to productivity?


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