March Madness Live Spoils The Game You’re Watching While You’re Watching It
For the most part, the NCAA's March Madness Live site and app have been functioning beautifully during this year's tournament. I've been using it to switch seamlessly between games, all of which come through in HD. The interface is great too: You can check scores of other live games and jump to them right away if they're coming down to the wire. Overall, very impressive. There's just one problem: It's playing spoiler on itself.
It's one thing for the online live stream to be a few seconds, or even as much as a minute, behind television. If you've got a problem with that, go find a TV, or go back to the 20th century when they didn't have live streams so you can appreciate living in this era. So when you're watching the March Madness Live feed, you should stay away from ESPN.com, which updates up to the second:
But the March Madness scoreboard on top of the screen -- which is separate from the TV broadcast's scoreboard -- is also ahead of the action, and doesn't wait for the game you're watching to catch up. See below from today's WVU-Buffalo game, a tight contest that many expected to end in an upset:
According to the scoreboard, the score of this game is 67-62 with 30 seconds left. But on the broadcast, it's still 64-62 with about 40 seconds left. That means... well, something that results in three points for West Virginia happens next.
This scoreboard can ruin things in multiple ways, too. If the scoreboard suddenly updates to show that the team with the ball has three more points than they actually do, I know the possession is going to end with them hitting a three. But if the scoreboard doesn't change, I know that this possession is probably going to end without them scoring -- or at least they'll be heading to the line, or some other stoppage of play will occur without points going on the board.
The site also has tabs that pop out warning you of a potential upset... even if you're watching the game that they're alerting you to. This happened yesterday with Georgia State's upset of Baylor -- I knew somebody was going to hit a three before they did, since an upset alert told me Georgia State was up 1 on Baylor with two seconds left before Georgia State's final possession even "happened."
The "Recent Plays" timeline below the screen -- which, to be fair, you can keep out of sight -- is also ahead of the action. Whoops.
We're not the only ones who have noticed this:
March Madness Live is a full 2 minutes behind the action and it spoils the score up top. Not a good combo. pic.twitter.com/o2zUOlOU2S
— Matt Yoder (@myoder84) March 20, 2015
And apparently it's an issue that has plagued the app for awhile. Here's a tweet from last year:
The March Madness Live app keeps giving spoilers without calling spoiler alert! (Look at the two scoreboards.) pic.twitter.com/gOpdBdIxyR
— Nathan Ehresman (@nathanehresman) March 22, 2014
For a sporting event and tournament that is predicated on unpredictable drama, being able to ruin that drama for yourself with an unintentional mouse scroll-over is pretty lame.
Yo, NCAA... fix this. I mean, fix a lot of things about yourself, like everything, but put this on the list too.
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