- April 18, 2024

March Madness Across Screens: 2024 Recap

Caleb White
Caleb White
Product Marketing Principal

March Madness proves the value of earned content & fandom

March Madness once again took the country by storm this year, and while congratulations are in order for the UConn Huskies Men’s team, as well as the South Carolina Gamecocks women’s team – the story doesn’t end there.

This year featured an impressive display of cross-screen engagement, and with history-making achievements such as Iowa’s star guard Caitlin Clark’s record-breaking season and UConn’s back-to-back titles, there is plenty of data to dive into.

MarchMadness Men vs Women Basketball

The men’s and women’s official March Madness accounts drove a combined 33.9M actions in 2024 across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and X – a 1.6M increase from 2023.

The total actions for the men’s tournament accounts saw a slight decline versus 2023, however, the women’s tournament accounts saw a growth of 2.7M actions year over year, driving 2024’s combined owned action total above last year's metrics.

March Madness Total Actions

Across both owned content on official March Madness accounts as well as posts mentioning tournament teams, players and other keywords – this year’s tournament earned 123.7M total actions.

While owned March Madness accounts drive impressive growth as it stands, it was the earned content that really engaged audiences. Approximately 62% of total actions were earned on organically shared content from publications and persons outside of the NCAA. This not only displays the impact that driving organic content can have outside of associated accounts, but also further illustrates just how engaged audiences can be when there is a story that resonates with them.

Top Teams on Social Media

Women’s basketball was a force to be reckoned with on social media this year, with much of the engagement being led by Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Owned Iowa accounts drove 5.1M actions across platforms – 600K more than the leading two men’s accounts combined.

MarchMadness Team Actions

Despite the University of Connecticut and Purdue being the two teams to go the distance in this year’s men’s tournament - social media analysis adds another competitor to the mix: Duke. Duke drove the strongest amongst all men’s basketball official accounts, with 2.4M total actions across platforms. This impressive performance was the strongest amongst all men’s team accounts and beat Purdue and UConn by approximately 300K and 400k actions respectively.

The Tournament on Linear TV: Overview

While this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament drove unprecedented success on social media, ultimately the games take place in our living rooms on linear television. The men’s tournament drove strong ratings across networks, but it was the women’s tournament that caught viewers eyes – particularly towards the end of this year’s tournament.

Top Games on TV: National

The men’s tournament had plenty of exciting matchups for us this year, yet only two rounds contained a matchup that earned a double-digit rating – the Round of 32 and the Elite 8. Interestingly, neither of these top-rated games contained UConn or Purdue – the two teams that faced off for this year’s national title in a championship that drove an 8.5 live household rating across TBS, TNT & TruTV.

MarchMadness Men Telecast Ratings

MarchMadness Women Telecast Ratings

For anyone who followed the tournament this year, Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes was a part of the discussion no matter where you looked. Her impact on the TV data was clear too, with the Iowa Hawkeyes participating in the highest-rated game of each round of the tournament, culminating in the National Championship. Despite Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes falling short of the title, the game drove an impressive live household rating of 17.4 – nearly 9 points ahead of the men’s national championship game’s rating.

Top Games on TV: Local Markets

March Madness is a national sensation, but typically certain geographic regions stay tuned longer than others as teams get eliminated from contention – a trend that once again held true this year.

On the women’s side, local markets in Iowa drove the strongest ratings in the nation. For the national championship, Iowa local markets earned all five top positions. Each market drove a live HH rating of at least 35.0, led by an impressive 53.1 in the University of Iowa’s home market: Cedar Rapids, IA.

On the men’s side, Purdue University’s home market of Lafayette, IN led the local market ranking with a live HH rating of 33.2. The second highest ratings came from Purdue’s championship opponent, the University of Connecticut, whose home market of Hartford-New Haven, CT drove a 21.0 live HH rating.

MarchMadness Live HH Ratings

Key Takeaways:

March Madness has come and gone for another year, and once again the insights from this years championship show how cross-screen engagement continues to evolve. Similarly, the record-breaking success of the women’s tournament shines a light on not only the growing interest in women’s sports, but also the new oppurtunities presented to fans, advertisers and media companies alike. While the success of accounts like Duke illustrate just how important fandom can be in driving owned engagement, major storylines such as Caitlin Clark can provide an equally strong effect on driving earned engagement.

To unpack some of the key linear and social takeaways with our team, get in touch with us via our contact form.

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