NCAA March Madness Market Ranker

The NCAA Men’s basketball tournament moved into full swing the week of March 15 as 65 teams competed for the title with fans across the country cheering them on. In this issue of Consumer Insights, Experian Simmons answers the question: Which designated market area (DMA) has the highest concentration of March Madness fans?

Just as only one team will cut down the nets in Indianapolis, only one DMA can claim bragging rights as the nation’s top March Madness town. This year’s winner is the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. where 18% of the DMA’s 4.7 million adults are likely to watch the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Nationwide, 14% of adults are expected to catch March Madness. Below are the top 10 markets as well as a link to download the full ranker and map of the top 100 DMAs.

  1. Washington, D.C.: Hometown of the number three seed team Georgetown and number four seed University of Maryland, 18% of the Washington, D.C. DMA’s 4.7 million adults can be expected to tune into the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at some point this month.
  2. Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia: Even though Virginia Commonwealth University didn’t make the cut, the University of Richmond elbowed their way into the tournament as a number seven seed. As such, 17.3% of the Richmond-Petersburg DMA’s 1.1 million adults will manage to catch a game or two.
  3. Baltimore, Maryland: Home to number 15 seed team Morgan State and next door to number four seed team University of Maryland, a solid 17% of Baltimore DMA adults can be expected to watch the tournament this year regardless of which team they’re cheering for.
  4. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Virginia: Norfolk’s own Old Dominion is an 11 seed team this year and fans will certainly be cheering them on. An estimated 17% of the surrounding DMA’s 1.5 million adults are likely to tune into at least one game.
  5. Detroit, Michigan: With a number 14 seeded team Oakland University within its borders and number five seeded team Michigan State University just next door in Lansing, it’s no surprise that 16.9% of the Detroit DMA’s adults will try to catch some of the tournament games this month.
  6. San Diego, California: San Diego State, a number 11 seed in the Big Dance, has a cheering section back home that most likely includes many of the 16.9% of the DMA’s 2.3 million adults who are likely to watch this year’s NCAA tournament.
  7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University’s Tigers didn’t make it to the Big Dance this year, but they made it to the Final Four in 2006 and the enthusiasm for the game hasn’t left town. An estimated 16.8% of Baton Rouge’s 674,000 adults should tune in to at least one game this month.
  8. Denver, Colorado: With a number of colleges and universities located within the Denver DMA, it’s no wonder 16.7% of the area’s 3.1 million adults have plans to tune into a game or two.
  9. Chicago, Illinois: While no Chicago-area schools will be competing in this year’s NCAA tournament, number six seed team Marquette is just a short drive up I-94 and plenty of fans of number 4 seed team Wisconsin call Chicago home. Expect 16.6% of the Chicago DMA’s 7.3 million adults to watch the tournament.
  10. Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia Tech is a number 10 seed and the Atlanta DMA rounds out the number 10 spot on our list. Coincidence? We expect that 16.5% of Atlanta’s 4.9 million adults will come down with a case of March Madness at some point between now and April 5th.

Where does your market rank?

To download a PDF of the complete 100 market ranker and a map of the top DMAs, fill out the brief form below.