CBS Sports, Facebook team up for college basketball

March Madness meets Web 2.0 in a new NCAA basketball brackets application on CBSSports.com. The application, unveiled Thursday, allows Facebook users to fill out brackets for the 2008 men’s basketball tournament and to compare their picks with those of their friends on the social network.

In addition to filling out and managing brackets on Facebook, the new CBSSports.com Tournament Brackets application will allow Facebook users to access tournament coverage from CBS Sports, CBSSports.com and NCAA.com. The site also includes links to the March Madness on Demand service for live streaming video coverage.

The application can also be used on CBS Sports Mobile, allowing users to access it from their phones, CBS Sports.com said.

“Working with Facebook, an extremely viral social utility with a tremendous core of both college students and alumni was a natural solution as we looked to build a brackets application around the most popular college sports tournament,” said Jason Kint, senior vice-president and general manager of CBSSports.com, in a statement. “This presents an ideal opportunity to extend the CBSSports.com brand to yet another platform and one containing a very engaged and loyal audience.”

The Facebook application will provide live updating scoreboards while games are in progress. In addition, users will be able to create their own public or private bracket groups with friends in the social network, according to CBSSports.com. Each NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) basketball team has its own page in the application so users can follow their favorite teams.

Facebook Inc. has 1.8 million users who are affiliated with one of the 65 schools that competed in the 2007 NCAA tournament.

The 2008 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship tournament begins March 20, with the national championship game scheduled for April 7.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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