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Nielsen: Spring Training, March Madness Took Over the Web

The bad news is that March is gone, and with it, Major League Baseball spring training and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships. The good news is, we get another March next year. Sports fans were busy online in March 2012, with more than 40% of Internet users visiting sports websites.

comScore data backs up Nielsen. comScore reported that during the first day of opening round NCAA tournament games on Thursday, March 15, total sports-related Web traffic jumped 79% compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays. In comparison, total traffic to all other web content declined 2%. The most significant gain in sports content consumption occurred via tablets at 94%, while smartphone activity jumped 83% and computer traffic jumped 77%.

Holding the #1 spot in March per Nielsen: Yahoo! Sports Websites, which was the top web brand in the category during March with 35 million unique U.S. visitors. A close second was ESPN Digital Network with 30.4 million unique visitors, and drew 24 million.

ESPN visitors appear to be the most zealous, having spent nearly an hour per day over multiple visits (15 minutes average) surfing the site in March.

College basketball fans also turned online, visiting sites like CBS Sports and to follow their favorite teams during March Madness (15.4 million and 6.7 million unique visitors, respectively). Another 9 million Americans visited as baseball fans to watch the Boys of Summer gear up for spring training.


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