Who's following March Madness?

Jamie BallardData Journalist
March 19, 2019, 3:21 PM GMT+0

Nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) will be picking their March Madness bracket at random, while 41% base their picks on whichever team they like best

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship officially begins today (March 19) and new YouGov research reveals that many (38%) Americans will be following it. Approaching a quarter (23%) plan to watch games on TV, while one in six (17%) will follow the action through social media, TV, newspapers and other media. About as many (16%) will be check scores online, while 8% will stream the match-ups.

YouGov’s data shows clear generational differences when it comes to how people will experience March Madness. Millennials (22%) are considerably more likely than Gen X (15%) and baby boomers (12%) to say they’ll be checking scores online. They’re also more likely (22%) to follow news about the games through social media and other channels than their Gen Xers and baby boomers (both 15%).

Who is participating in March Madness pools?

Many workplaces and friendship groups have March Madness pools, where participants predict on the outcomes of the games. Among the 15% of adults planning on entering a March Madness pool, the majority (60%) will do so with friends or family. A third (34%) will make predictions with their coworkers, while three in ten (30%) say they’ll be making brackets on their own. Respondents were given the option to select multiple answers, so some may be entering March Madness pools with various groups of people.

March Madness participants take various approaches to picking their bracket. The most common method is to pick a bracket is personal knowledge of college basketball (45%), closely followed by choosing teams based on their personal fandom (41%). Just over a quarter (26%) follow the advice of experts - a similar number as pick their bracket at random (24%) - while one in five (21%) follow the advice of friends and family. Altogether, fewer than half (45%) are picking their bracket with any knowledge of college basketball.

However, most won’t be winning - or losing - big. Only 19% of Americans plan to put any money on March Madness. Of those who are planning to gamble, three in four (75%) in this group say that they’ll be gambling less than $50. Another 16% of this group will be betting between $50 and $100 dollars, while 8% plan to bet over $100.

See full results here.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus and YouGov Sport.

Image: Getty

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