SBD/Issue 118/Sports Media

Unsealing The Vault: NCAA Site Offers Recent BBall Tourney Clips

NCAA Vault Allows Fans To Search For
Highlights By Teams Or Individual Players

The NCAA today is formally debuting the NCAA Vault, which offers access to highlights from every men's basketball tournament game from '00 "from the Round of 16 forward," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Thought Equity Motion (TEM), through a deal with the NCAA, has "assigned a Web address" to each game, which lets fans "watch any of the games, or thin slices of them, and link to social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter or to their blogs." TEM CEO Kevin Schaff said that the goal of the project is to "extend the tournament's mania beyond its natural period." Schaff: "People want to consume the moment and discuss it. When you broadcast a game, consumption is short-lived." Sandomir reports the ad-supported site "breaks games into small bits and divides them into packaged sections like dunks, great shots and great blocks." But it also lets fans "choose clips from each game’s play-by-play log." Entering the name of teams "will generate the games they played and highlights culled from them." Similarly, entering a player's name "yields games he played in and his highlights." CineSport CEO Gregg Winik said, "The old idea in the industry was to protect the archive and drive fans to the broadcasts. Now, people are saying, ‘Internet video is a real business'" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/3).

GOING INSIDE THE VAULT: While CBS and the NCAA will promote the site with links off its main commercial site, NCAA.com, as well as March Madness on Demand, Schaff indicated the primary driver of traffic will come from links and social media. Schaff: “Where we think it’s going to take off is virally. The consumer can come in and create a URL and post a highlight onto the Facebook page and drive traffic that way. We’re also going to offer publishing guides for the top bloggers and writers so that when they reference a moment in history, they have the video available to them and it’s easy to find. Those moments will be indexed and also can be picked up by the search engines. The idea with this was to create the easiest possible video linking system on the Internet." CBS Sports, which owns the rights to NCAA.com, will take the lead on ad sales for the site. NCAA Dir of Broadcasting Greg Weitekamp said CBS and TEM have an agreement to share the revenue generated from the ads. The relationship between the NCAA and the firm goes back to '05 when TEM first began managing the NCAA’s archives. Weitekamp said more games will be added to the NCAA’s content over time and the hope is to eventually have all of the NCAA’s championship events across all of its sports available on the site (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).

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