Plenty of people took to Twitter Thursday just before the NCAA tournament tipped off to complain about being unable to make or modify their brackets on CBSSports.com. Now, we have a sense of just how widespread the problem was. Richard Morgan of The New York Post has a piece discussing how bad the outage to CBS’ site was:
Thousands of fans who waited until the final minutes to fill out their brackets on CBSSports.com were denied their picks.
…The CBS site crashed around 11 a.m. EDT and stayed down for about two hours, according to Downdetector, a service that tracks digital outages.
Considering the tipoff for the first game was at 12:15 p.m., the timing could not have been worse for 11th-hour bracket makers and just-in-time tweakers.
…CBS Sports didn’t exactly man up but said “service was down due to overwhelming demand.”
…Downdetector calculated that “CBSSports.com complaints” spiked to 2,099 every 15 minutes around noon Thursday, from a base of nearly zero an hour before and an hour after the site’s crash.
As Morgan’s article notes, a surge in traffic certainly is to be expected right before the tournament tipped off. Technical problems do happen, though, and it isn’t easy to keep a popular site up during an extremely high-traffic period. And this is good news for CBS on one front; it’s better to have lots of people trying to go to your site than to have no one trying to access it. Tons of people make brackets with CBS, and that’s undoubtedly what caused the issues here.
Still, thousands of people complaining about being unable to access your site is never a good thing. That’s especially true when that outage comes at a time that could easily have been anticipated as a high-demand period. It will be interesting to see if CBS takes steps to prevent this from recurring around the start of the tournament in future years.