March Madness created a lot of CBS hatred just before the first game Thursday in the NCAA basketball championship tournament.
Thousands of fans who waited until the final minutes to fill out their brackets on CBSSports.com were denied their picks.
And it wasn’t just their picks for tournament-starter Notre Dame versus Princeton, but for all their picks in the four brackets.
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.
The frustration of being bracket-blocked set Twitter afire with posts ranging from the predictable “THIS SUCKS! DANG IT” to the passive/aggressive “those that had a problem shouldn’t have waited til the last minute.”
CBS Sports didn’t exactly man up but said “service was down due to overwhelming demand.”
The excuse clanged like a missed free throw to many on the outside looking in.
“Someone didn’t get the memo there would be a spike in traffic today,” said a Downdetector commenter.
Added another: “Last minute or not, I shouldn’t have to worry about a website not functioning in the 21st century.”
CBS Sports’ being caught flat-footed struck many as derelict given that the American Gaming Association predicted on Tuesday that fans would complete 70 million brackets this year — more, it said, than the number of ballots cast in the November election.
Downdetector calculated that “CBSSports.com complaints” spiked to 2,099 every 15 minutes around noon on Thursday, from a base of nearly zero an hour before and an hour after the site’s crash.
The personal foul may even have spread to CBS stock, which fell 1.3 percent on Thursday, to close at $67.30