It began with 68 teams fighting for a chance to make it to the championship game. After a week of upsets and shocking defeats, now it is down to the Final Four - Butler, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Virginia Commonwealth. And what an exciting tournament it has been so far!
According to some early estimates, online viewership of the NCAA tournament is up over last year. Turner and CBS have reported a 47 percent increase this year in total visits to the March Madness On Demand Web site, attracting 2.4 million unique Web visitors. 36 percent of live streaming during the first weekend of the tournament came via an iPhone or iPad app.
So how are these sites continuing to handle the millions of anxious fans looking for updates to see how their brackets are faring?
Last week we reported that the NCAA's March Madness on Demand site was the frontrunner in Web performance. And it looks like they've been able to hold on to that number 1 position. The site delivered perfect performance this past week with 100 percent availability and 2.18 second average response time. Although they did show improvement in availability over Week 1, FoxSports.com continued to struggle with sluggish response times of over 16 seconds.
Yahoo's NCAA page had a big jump in response time in the middle of the tournament, from 5 seconds to 15 seconds, as you can see in the below graph. Let's see if this will affect their final placement in our rankings.
We've also been continuing to keep an eye on how some of these sites are performing for iPad and iPhone users over the AT&T wireless network from two monitoring locations.
When it comes to the iPhone, the average response time for sites remained steady at 12.78 seconds. CBSSports.com and ESPN.com performed above average on the iPhone in both response time and availability.
The user experience on the iPad has improved since the beginning of the tournament. Average response time dropped from 13.53 seconds during Week 1 to 12.91 seconds. While the average availability held steady at 98.71 percent. CBSSports.com was the top performer on the iPad with an average response time of 9.41 seconds and 99.44 percent availability.
Let's see which sites can finish strong and who will be the top performer during this year's tournament. Good luck to all the teams competing in the Final Four!