March Madness Demographics: Who are college basketball’s biggest fans

Jessa Morris
  • March 13, 2023
  • Jessa Morris
Learn more about the demographic profile of NCAA March Madness Fans including age, ethnicity, and household income.
March Madness is around the corner and ad sales have surpassed last year’s levels.

Brands continue to show love for NCAA’s college basketball tournament, and the payoff is real for both advertisers and players, many of whom are starting to cash in on NIL deals. 

As with any good sponsorship strategy, getting to know your target audience is mission-critical. As part of our ongoing tracking, we surveyed US residents across the country who’ve engaged with the March Madness tournament to find out more about them. 

Turns out, March Madness pulls a crowd bigger than major sports properties including the US Open, MLB All-Star Game, and the NHL. 

But, who exactly are the fans tuning in? 

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March Madness Fan demographics. Get the insights you need to determine whether there is alignment between the fan base for March Madness & your Audience.

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Keep reading to find out which demographic groups are most engaged with March Madness. 

Nearly 1 in 2 US residents have engaged with NCAA March Madness

When it comes to engagement, 46% of US residents have engaged with the March Madness tournament in the past 12 months. 

Only 6% fewer Americans engage with March Madness than they do the NBA, which is the 8th most engaged with property in the USA (across sport, entertainment, and cause)!

The majority of fans are male 

61% of NCAA March Madness fans in the US are male, while 39% are female. The tournament is most popular among Americans ages 35-44 years old, 26% of US residents in that age range have engaged, while 20% between 25-35% have engaged. 

Here’s the full demographic profile on NCAA March Madness fans in the US:

  • 61% of March Madness fans are male

  • 39% of March Madness fans are female

  • 37% of fans live in the Southern US

  • 13% of fans are Hispanic

  • 15% of fans are African American

  • 20% of fans make between $70-99K per year

  • 35% of fans make between $100-199K per year

  • 59% of fans have kids in the household

  • 10% of fans identify as LGBTQ

What does fan engagement mean for sponsors?

People are tuning in, and we know more about them than ever. So how does increased fandom impact sponsors? 

In our latest Impact Report, we surveyed Americans ages 18-64 who engaged with the 2023 March Madness Men’s and Women’s Tournaments to find out which sponsors were top of mind.

Whether fans tuned into the Men’s or Women’s tournament, all 6 sponsors we measured were well ahead of average awareness. Among the top 3 brands that came to mind were Coca-Cola, Capital One, and AT&T. 

Short-term categories in quick service restaurants, sports bars, and beverages climb to the top in driving brand preference through sponsorship of March Madness, highlighting opportunities for brands to play an active role in creating unique moments tied to viewing, and enjoying the fan experience at retail and on-premise.

Ready for more insight? 

At SponsorPulse, were on a mission to bring transparency to sponsorship. We do this by speaking with real fans to understand their passion points and purchase behavior.

Get your free copy of our NCAA March Madness Sponsor Impact recap now:

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