March Madness

(Photo by Jacob Rice on Unsplash)

NEW YORK — March is here and that means one thing, college basketball fans are about to tune out the rest of the world for days and days. In fact, a new poll finds March Madness fans will spend a day and a half — 36 hours — completely consumed by the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

Between watching games (13 hours), creating brackets (three hours), and discussing the tournament with family and friends (five hours), the survey of 2,000 basketball fanatics 21 and older reveals that during the three weeks of March Madness, nothing else matters. That’s not even counting the time they’ll spend engaging with online content (five hours), watching highlights (five hours), and placing bets (three hours).

The poll also shows that March Madness can take precedent over their daily routines and social events. In fact, more than one-quarter (26%) admit they’ve skipped work, while one in five have canceled dates (17%) and even birthday parties (17%) just to ensure they don’t miss the action on the court. 

Whether they’re lifelong or bandwagon fans, more than three-quarters of respondents (76%) have a favorite team they’re rooting for this March and 59 percent of those fans believe their team has what it takes to make it to the Final Four. Furthermore, 57 percent are confident that their team can go all the way and will win it all this year, yet only 30 percent will pick them as their bracket champ no matter what.

According to respondents, the top three most likely conferences to come out on top this year include the Big Ten (21%), SEC (14%), and Big East (12%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tipico Sportsbook, results also reveal that an astounding 88 percent of fans are likely to stay loyal to their team and will watch every second of their games, even if they’re losing big. Taking that a step further, die-hard fans will also sport their team’s apparel while watching other games (47%) and passionately always root against their rival (41%).

Family watching sports team on TV
More than one-quarter (26%) admit they’ve skipped work, while one in five have canceled dates (17%) and even birthday parties (17%) just to ensure they don’t miss March Madness. (© master1305 –

In fact, respondents are more likely to hope for a miracle (46%) or stay confident until there are no other options (45%) when their team is losing, compared to leaving the room (10%) or putting on a different game (9%). Everyone has their limits, however, as the average fan starts to give up hope that they can win if their team is down by 19 points in the second half. 

“March Madness is a cultural phenomenon unlike any other because anyone can be a hero; every year, new storylines captivate a diverse audience and define the fabric of the college basketball world,” says spokesperson Brian Becker, Tipico Sportsbook SVP of Marketing, in a statement. “For fans nationwide, it is a battle between knowledge and pure luck, but this survey data highlights that basketball fans are overwhelmingly loyal and trust that the time they spend educating themselves will give them an edge.”

The survey also finds basketball fanatics are willing to spend a whopping $570 on their overall March Madness experience this year. This year, 39 percent of basketball fans plan to place bets on the tournament this year. When that in mind, they’re also planning to win more than in previous years. The average bettor has won about 46 percent of the bets they’ve placed in the past, but this year, bettors plan to average winning 59 percent of their bets.

Caesars Sportsbook Online Sports Betting
Caesars Sportsbook Online Sports Betting by focal5 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

In total, bettors plan to claim an average total of $261 this year. This may be why 46 percent of basketball fans are more likely to place bets during March Madness than any other time of the year.

However, few fans are willing to throw loyalty out the window for a shot at a higher payout. Only 24 percent admit they have placed bets against their favorite team and that they would do so again. More than half (54%) say that their loyalty to their favorite team runs so deep that they have never placed bets against their favorite and never will.

“It’s encouraging to see that basketball fans are feeling optimistic about their betting prospects and are taking advantage of the chance to win big money during the March Madness tournament,” says spokesperson Andre Zammit, VP of Sportsbook at Tipico. “Whether it’s your first time betting or a yearly tradition, we’re excited to see where the bets fall during the pinnacle sports saga of the year.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 basketball fanatics, ages 21+ was commissioned by Tipico between February 8 and February 14, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Patrisha Antonaros

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