New March Madness Research from Nielsen

In order to better understand the March Madness consumer and what it means for marketers, Westwood One commissioned Nielsen to conduct two studies about NCAA basketball consumption. In the first, Nielsen analyzed the NCAA listening audience in 48 Portable People Meter markets, examining reach accumulation across the entire NCAA Basket season. In the second study of 1000 NCAA fans entitled, “A Day in the Life of an NCAA Fan," Nielsen studied how the March Madness audience follows the Tournament across social, video, audio and digital platforms in variety of locations.
Key findings include:
* NCAA basketball is a fan favorite as America’s fifth most popular sport. When asked which sports they watch, listen to, or follow, 22% of Americans said NCAA Basketball. This puts college basketball in the top 5 with NFL, MLB, NCAA football, and NBA.
* NCAA radio listeners are more engaged fans and consume more games on average than the general NCAA basketball audience.

87% of NCAA basketball listeners will follow/watch/listen to the full Tournament through the Final, compared with 78% of the overall NCAA basketball audience.
% of NCAA basketball listeners try to follow as many games as possible on as many devices as they can, compared with 17% of the overall NCAA basketball audience.
The average number of NCAA tournament games consumed by AM/FM listeners is 12.3, compared to 10.2 for the total NCAA basketball audience.

* NCAA audio listeners are more upscale and more likely to be full time employed versus the average NCAA fan. Since radio is the soundtrack of the American worker, busy full-time employed Americans with kids use radio to a far greater degree to keep up with NCAA March Madness.
* Westwood One’s March Madness radio coverage reaches 1 in 3 adults in the March Madness audience (people that consume March Madness content on any platform).

AM/FM radio alone reaches 14 million fans (adults 18+)

* Consumers listen to NCAA audio coverage on the go – much more than video. Among NCAA audio consumers:

89% listen to the broadcast at home (compared to 93% of NCAA video consumers)
41% listen at work (compared to only 22% of NCAA video consumers)
40% listen in the car (compared to only 14% of NCAA video consumers)​

* March Madness fans listen during the work day. One-third (33%) of March Madness audio listeners tune in to the Tournament at work on the weekday, and 28% will tune in during their commute on a weekday.
“March Madness on the radio attracts ‘super fans’ who are following the Tournament closely and consume the most games,” says Pierre Bouvard, CMO of Westwood One and Cumulus Media. “Sports on the radio typically attracts the most passionate sports fans, which we see again in this latest Nielsen study of NCAA basketball fans. March Madness listeners don’t want to miss a moment of the Tournament and are tuning in even while they are at work, home, and in the car. For marketers, NCAA on the radio is an effective way to reach engaged March Madness fans wherever they are, especially while they are on the go and close to the point of purchase.”
More detailed findings are available in the full presentation on SlideShare
Westwood One is the exclusive audio provider of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.​​ Starting with “First Four” action on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, and continuing through the Championship Game on Monday, April 4, 2016, Westwood One Sports will once again provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of March Madness.
CREDIT: Westwood One / Nielsen