Net Traffic Spikes–Something About That Funny Game with Nets

3/20/09Follow @wroush

Internet news sites are experiencing their fourth biggest traffic day ever, as millions of people who should be working instead point their browsers to online video coverage of the “March Madness” NCAA basketball playoffs, judging by the Net Usage Index: News, a Web traffic monitoring service maintained by Cambridge, MA-based Akamai Technologies.

The index indicated that global traffic to news sites through Akamai’s network hit a peak of 6,337,283 visits per minute shortly after 2:00 pm Eastern time today, amidst the first college games of the day.

That peak would put March 20, 2009 in the fourth slot on Akamai’s list of the top news days in Internet history, just behind November 4, 2008 (the day of Barack Obama’s election to the U.S. presidency), June 22, 2006 (the day Ghana eliminated the U.S. in the soccer World Cup), and March 20, 2008 (Day One of last year’s NCAA basketball playoffs).

Akamai operates a global content distribution network that carries broadband Web content such as video for dozens of major media companies, and it’s the exclusive provider of static and streaming-media content delivery for CBSSports.com, where most of the online NCAA playoff video can be found. In a press release, CBSSports.com said today that more than 2.7 million people visited the NCAA March Madness video player during the first day of the Division I Men’s playoffs, a 56 percent increase over 2008. Online viewers watched a total of 2.8 million hours of live streaming video and audio, a 65 percent increase over last year, according to the release.

Jason Kint, senior vice president and general manager, CBSSports.com, called March Madness “the largest and most popular live sports event on the Internet.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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