March Madness Free Streaming Via iPad

March Madness Free Streaming Via iPad

I swear, it’s not my intention to turn this blog into a blog focused on cord cutting, but the news is coming fast and furious. I am, however, starting to feel a little like Paul Revere, surfing around the blogosphere screaming “The television business is about to die! The television business is about to die!”

The big news this morning is that March Madness will be streamed free to the iPad (and iPhone). Wowsers.

GigaOm’s Ryan Lawler quotes Senior VP and General Manager of Turner Sports Matthew Hong on why the feed won’t be behind a paywall:

“Not having been authenticated for prior years, that sets the expectations among users that it will be free in 2011”

Good luck trying to put that toothpaste back in the tube. I bet more than a few sports league executives read that quote and cringed. Granted, March Madness has some unique attributes (many games are played during normal working hours) but this is the very definition of a slippery slope.

Last year, 8.3 million users viewed 11.7 million hours of March Madness via CBS’ OnDemand video player, up 36% over 2009. And given how quickly adoption of live streaming of live sporting events is increasing, you can expect that number to continue to rise quickly.

The other piece of news from yesterday is almost an afterthought, but definitely relevant. Lost in the hype of the iPad 2 announcement was the news that the iPad now has a $39 iPad-to-HDMI out cable available. So I will be hooking up my iPad, with it’s high quality streaming feed to my equally high quality television screen and watching March Madness for free.

The barriers to cord cutting are falling almost by the day.