With March Madness well underway and the Final Four squaring off on Saturday for a spot in the National Championship game, searches around ‘March Madness’ reached a record high the week ending March 17th, up 16% over the same week last year. In fact, searches for variations of ‘March Madness’ have consistently grown each year since 2009.
News was also recently released announcing that March Madness dethroned the Super Bowl as the top betting event of year in 2012. While visits to the Sport Betting category did not grow significantly vs. last year, there was a lift in “NCAA bracket” searches, up 13% compared to 2011. Considering brackets are the standard way people place bets around March Madness, this makes sense. It’s also interesting to note that bracket-related searches typically peak toward the beginning of the tournament when many office pools get started.
Looking at the DMA breakdown of visitors to a custom category of NCAA Men’s Basketball Sites indexed against the online population, the top 4 DMAs which overindexed most during the previous 4 weeks, are close to or are home to a school in the Final Four. The data shows that visitors in the Louisville, KY DMA (where the University of Louisville is located) were 312% more likely to visit college basketball sites compared to the online population while visitors in the Lexington, KY DMA (where the University of Kentucky is located) were 241% more likely. Likewise, visitors from Kansas, specifically Wichita and Topeka, were also highly likely to visit NCAA sites during this time period.
Among DMAs that are located near other schools that made it to the Sweet Sixteen, online users in Cincinnati, OH (University of Cincinnati and Xavier University); Syracuse, NY (Syracuse University); and Lansing, MI (Michigan State University)were all significantly more likely than the online population to visit college basketball websites.
Thanks to Andrew Lopanik, Junior Analystwith the Strategic Services team at Hitwise for today’s analysis.
Learn more about the author, Heather Dougherty