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March Madness Media


The annual “March Madness” frenzy that accompanies the opening of the NCAA Basketball Tournament appears to inspire the same level of intensity when it comes to how people actually follow the event, with fans using many different forms of media to keep up with events as they unfold.

That’s the conclusion of an early analysis of USA TouchPoints data released today by Media Behavior Institute. Their research shows how fans followed the event in the opening days of the tournament, when a total of 64 teams play and when cross-media consumption is expected by many to be heaviest, as people seek real time results as they occur throughout the day.

“With so many people following so many teams and games throughout these opening days – and with so many people participating in brackets – March Madness becomes the talking point of workplaces all over the country and people need information to feed those conversations.” said Alice K Sylvester, COO of Media Behavior Institute (and avid sports fan).

By tracking behavior throughout the day, USA TouchPoints makes clear how and where people follow the event– and while more people use TV than any other single medium, it’s clear they are using others too.  “There’s no question that March Madness is an ’any where, any time, any medium’ kind of event,” she continued.

So which were the “winningest” forms of media consumption?

  • TV is used by 74% of those following the event, with online computer coming second with 28% and radio close behind in third with 21%.
  • People followed the event throughout the day but numbers grew steadily from morning to evening; 20% in the morning, 34% in the afternoon and 44% in the evening, with an average of 2.5 hours spent following the tournament across all media throughout the day.
  • In terms of where people followed the tournament, home was the clear winner with 59% of the audience, but second and third places were almost tied between bar (22%) and work (19%).
  • 54% of people followed the event with friends, family or coworkers and 46% followed it alone.
  • 13% of people claim to be following “very closely”, 11% “closely” and 31% “somewhat closely.”

Media Behavior Institute will be releasing a further analysis based on the USA TouchPoints data at the end of the tournament to reveal how media consumption changes as the competition unfolds.