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Home - The Phenomenon of March Madness

  The Phenomenon of March Madness

ncaa march madnessFor most sports leagues the drama typically peaks with the championship game. With the Olympics the drama typically peaks with the gold medal game. In the NBA the drama typically peaks with the NBA Finals. One of the slight exceptions in America is Major League Baseball. The World Series has it’s luster, but there are few spikes in interest on days like Opening Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July. Days where the masses have the whole day off and can be lazy and just leave the TV on all day. But even though the crowd in watching, the intensity isn’t there.

NCAA basketball is one of the rare exceptions.

What is widely regarded as the best weekend for the sport is the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. There’s no one reason for how that developed. Part of it can be attributed to all the office betting pools that even the most casual fans get involved in. Part of it can be attributed to the fact that you’re starting with 64 teams, and 64 groups of fans following their teams. But, by the end of that first weekend you’re down to only 16 teams. So by the end of the first weekend most people’s brackets are shot and teams are eliminated. Probably a bigger factor than anything is the way it’s marketed. On the first Thursday and Friday they have four games running simultaneously. On the first Saturday and Sunday they have two games running simultaneously. This allows them to show the most competitive game at given time slot, since the television rights are exclusive. So it’s rare that a time slot goes by without a compelling game. If there’s multiple close games, the coverage will often hop back and forth ignoring commercial brakes. It’s nothing new for a sport to market their product in any way possible, however succeeding in this manner is an anomaly.

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