March Multi-Screen Madness: Smartphones and Tablets Drive 20 Percent of Web Traffic for First Round Games of NCAA Tournament

Sports Category Traffic Jumps 79 Percent on First Day of Tournament, with Smartphone and Tablet Growth Outpacing the Average

RESTON, VA, March 23, 2012 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the results of a study of web usage related to the 2012 NCAA Tournament based on data from Comscore Device Essentials™. The study, which analyzed browser-based (i.e. non-app) page views to the Sports content category, showed that consumers dramatically increased their access of Sports content across all three primary screens for web access – computer, tablet and smartphone – as they tried to stay plugged into the first 32 games of the tournament in real-time.

“The NCAA Tournament, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics, is one of those events where sports fans don’t want to miss a beat of the action – especially if they can’t be in front of a TV,” said Debbie Bradley, Sr. Director at Comscore. “Over the past several years we’ve seen fans become more reliant on the web for NCAA tournament coverage, especially while they’re tied to their desks at work during the first round matchups. As media formats continue to evolve, we’re rapidly seeing America’s national college basketball obsession increasingly bleed over to other screens like smartphones and tablets. Given the emphasis large advertisers place on these events, it’s important to consider how other media channels can be leveraged to maximize a brand’s awareness and its communication with the consumer.”

20 Percent of Sports Content During NCAA Tournament Viewed on Smartphones and Tablets

As part of the study, Comscore analyzed computer vs. non-computer traffic (predominantly smartphones and tablets) for the Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays and Fridays. The data showed that nearly double the percentage of Sports category content was consumed on non-computer devices as other content categories. For all time periods studied, the percentage of Sports category traffic coming from non-computer devices was approximately 20 percent while other categories had approximately 10 percent of traffic coming from these devices. Friday, March 16, the second day of tournament action, saw non-computer Sports category traffic peak at 22.1 percent.

Share of Web Traffic (i.e. Page Views) by Device for Sports Category vs. All Other Content
Thursday and Friday, March 15-16 vs. Average of 3 Previous Thursdays and Fridays
Total U.S.
Source: Comscore Device Essentials
  Thursday Friday
Avg. Thursday Thu, Mar. 15 Avg. Friday Fri, Mar. 16
Sports Category        
 Computer Traffic 80.2% 79.4% 79.6% 77.9%
 Non-Computer Traffic 19.8% 20.6% 20.4% 22.1%
All Other Content        
 Computer Traffic 89.8% 89.6% 89.6% 89.3%
 Non-Computer Traffic 10.2% 10.4% 10.4% 10.7%

Total Sports Content Consumption Nearly Doubles During NCAA Tournament

During the first day of opening round NCAA tournament games on Thursday, March 15, total sports-related traffic jumped 79 percent compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays. In comparison, total traffic to all other web content declined 2 percent. The most significant gain in sports content consumption occurred via tablet at 94 percent, while smartphone activity jumped 83 percent and computer traffic jumped 77 percent. Friday, March 16 showed a similar story, though gains were not quite as steep as the previous day across all access screens, probably because of the greater interest in the tournament on the opening day. However, gains in both smartphones and tablets were notably higher than computers in relation to Thursday, which may reflect sports fans’ greater likelihood of being on-the-go on Friday, perhaps due to the increased likelihood of taking a vacation day or an extended lunch break at the local sports bar.

Increase in Traffic to Sports Category by Device During 1st Round of NCAA Tournament
Thursday and Friday, March 15-16 vs. Average of 3 Previous Thursdays and Fridays
Total U.S.
Source: Comscore Device Essentials
  % Change vs. Avg. of 3 Prior Thu/Fri
Sports Content All Other Content Total Content
Thursday, March 15      
Total Devices 79% -2% 5%
Computer 77% -2% 4%
Smartphone 83% -1% 14%
Tablet 94% 1% 10%
Other 78% -4% -3%
Friday, March 16      
Total Devices 63% -4% 1%
Computer 59% -4% 0%
Smartphone 75% -1% 12%
Tablet 85% 1% 10%
Other 54% -4% -4%

“While all-encompassing media events like the NCAA Tournament might eat into the content people typically consume, it actually appears that most usage is incremental content consumption,” added Bradley. “When the content is highly time-sensitive – such as with news or sports scores – there’s a greater likelihood of it being consumed on-the-go via mobile devices.”

About Comscore Device Essentials™
Comscore Device Essentials™ is a unique solution that provides insight into digital traffic across all web-enabled devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets and other connected devices. Device Essentials offers visibility into web traffic patterns according to device characteristics, operating system, connection type, content category and geography.

For more information about the product, please contact us at 

About Comscore
Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics. For more information, please visit

Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications