March Madness works for younger generations, here’s why

Have you recovered from the bad beats and busted brackets from March Madness? Odds are, if you’ve been following along with the madness that ended with a UConn national victory, you probably partook in some of the college hoops tournament festivities.

Every year, eager sports fans are readily preparing their brackets and making bets left and right to get in on the action. What if I told you this is key to the success of attracting Gen Z to the sports world, who otherwise aren’t really interested?

According to a survey in a Morning Consult article, a survey of 1,000 U.S. Gen Zers between the ages of 13-25 “found that 33% do not watch live sporting events, compared with 24% of U.S. adults and 22% of millennials who answered the same in a corresponding survey.”

Another statistic from that study found that Gen Zers said that a little more than a third of them watched a live sporting event in the past four months. A little more than half did so at least once in 2022. “About 1 in 5 of the cohort (18%) said they have attended a professional game this year, compared with 25% of millennials.” The website read.

What could be the reason for this? Because this generation grew up in the digital age, there’s virtually (no pun intended) no reason for using anything else to access sporting content. Let’s face it, Gen Z is kinda busy right now fighting for an adequate world to live in. They really don’t have the time or interest to partake in sports. But that doesn’t mean none of them are, as the earlier survey showed.

Some games are – or used to be – too long. Going to a baseball game before this season was torturous for some people if you weren’t some degree of a fan. Due to baseball rule changes coming into this season, obviously, they’ve sped up the game. However, for some people, live sporting events are far too long.

Another issue surrounding younger millennials and Gen Z is the fact that live sporting events cost a lot of money. This past year, the average price of an NFL ticket cost about $203. You could look to a television package like NFL Sunday Ticket, but even that would cost a whopping $290 for the season. As Gen Z is entering a shaky job market, the last thing they can afford right now is a ticket to a sporting event.

Therefore, they use the resources at their disposal and get their sports from digital platforms. They might find live streams or some way of watching the game online if a television network isn’t broadcasting the game.

With the digital following comes interaction. When following via live stream, they might engage in sports betting. If getting their news from a social media app, they might leave a like or a comment. Even something like the emergence of esports and fantasy sports is something they could have an interest in. 

That’s where March Madness comes in. 

With March Madness, so many sportsbooks, organizations and websites offer some sort of interactivity. Whether it’s bracket challenges, betting game-by-game or even a fun take on a “Best Snack Bracket Challenge,” there’s so many options for people to engage and follow along on the games. Adding the suspense of if a bet is going to hit or how your bracket is going to hold up adds excitement to the game.

This is where Gen Z can latch on to sports. They can become more focused and interested in sports thanks to the marketing tactics and activities presented during March Madness.

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