Watching the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament on the Web at work is great. The on-demand player that CBSsports.com has built for March Madness on Demand, using Microsoft’s Silverlight, is not perfect, but it’s a great way to keep up with the tournament, live, while still “working.”
I think the people behind the player might take a bit of pleasure in facilitating this “borrowing” of work time. There’s a “Boss Button” on the player that brings up a spreadsheet. And the promo video that rolls when you launch the player exclaims something to the effect of, Forget that 2 o’clock meeting. There’s a 2 o’clock tip off.
(Microsoft announced a test version of Silverlight 3 yesterday, by the way.)
But is the tournament, which is now easier than ever to watch at work thanks to the Silverlight app, really the productivity sink it’s rumored to be? Staffing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas floated an estimate of $3.8 billion in lost productivity for the 2006 tournament, a figure that many people questioned (though many others did not) and Jack Shafer, writing at Slate, picked apart.