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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Schwartz on Sports: How MMOD changed my entire life

    For many students, spring break means relaxing on Mexico’s beaches by day and partying in the bars by night.

    For me last week it meant the discovery of a technology that will change my spring breaks forever: MMOD.

    Many of you college basketball diehards already know that this glorious acronym stands for March Madness on Demand, meaning you can watch every NCAA Tournament game outside your viewing area through streaming video right on your computer.

    And the best part, of course? It’s free.

    So I signed up for a VIP pass, which means I never waited more than two minutes to get into the site. As I was frantically trying to sign up for every Web site’s bracket challenge that I could find last Wednesday night in hopes that this is the year I have a perfect bracket (or just more perfect than other people), I did not realize how much this would change how I watched the NCAA Tournament.

    In the past I would be at the mercy of the CBS executives, praying that they would send me out to the three-point game with just two minutes to go with my Final Four pick on the ropes.

    But all I could do was watch the scoreboard at the top of the screen, screaming if my team scored regardless of what was going on in the game actually on the set, hoping with all my might to see Greg Gumbel take me out to the other game.

    But since I discovered MMOD, that’s all changed.

    When I wanted to see the second half of the Tennessee-Winthrop game, in which my No. 15 seed was threatening to pull the big upset over the overrated No. 2 seed, I could just walk over to my computer and put that on myself. No need for Mr. Gumbel to save me now.

    When the games were hitting crunch time I got my only exercise of those days, frantically running between the computer for the MMOD games and my television for the contest shown by CBS.

    CBS almost made me miss the conclusion of the Washington-Utah State game late Thursday night by putting on the local news rather than the conclusion of the contest, but luckily for me, MMOD saved the day. Too bad it couldn’t save my Utah State to the Sweet Sixteen pick, but I’m not complaining, I still got 11 of 16 correct.

    If there’s any downside, it’s games being shown in your viewing areas being blacked out, which certainly makes sense so as not to take all of CBS’ viewers away. Unfortunately, if your team’s playing in a laugher and CBS switches away from that game, you don’t get it anywhere.

    From the comfort of my home in Scottsdale, I didn’t miss a second of the Wildcats’ first-round victory over Wisconsin despite the fact that Arizona dominated from the opening tip. If I were visiting a location outside the Arizona market over break that chose not to show the potentially interesting 8-9 game, all I would need to do is head over to my computer to watch my beloved Wildcats.

    However, for corporate America, MMOD poses a much larger risk in productivity losses. A Chicago firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., estimated that college basketball junkies and casual fans with a few bucks in the office pools alike would spend 13.5 minutes a day to watch the NCAA Tournament in America, leading to a $3.8 billion loss of productivity.

    The number I find most shocking is that the firm thought workers would watch the Tournament for only 13.5 minutes per day, as MMOD has made it easier than ever to watch the Tournament at work.

    With MMOD’s “”Boss Button,”” in which a spreadsheet pops up “”to hide (the) player from your boss”” with prominent American cities, months and random figures that look like actual work on it, the boss may only see you wasting 13.5 minutes. Hell, MMOD even provides instructions at the bottom of the page saying, “”Remember, cheering in the office gives you away.””

    I spent my 13.5 minutes watching the Tournament at work by about the 16:00 timeout in the first half of the Arizona-Villanova game Sunday and proceeded to spend the next two hours or so watching the rest of it. (But then again, I could always use the excuse that I’m doing work since I need to know what happened in the game to edit our basketball coverage, right?)

    No worries though, the sports section still hit the presses and was on the newsstands right on time Monday morning, and I had nothing that needed to get done last week, so I personally didn’t contribute to the nation’s productivity losses.

    We can only hope the rest of corporate America doesn’t like MMOD as much as I do.

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