Basketball fans visiting bracket sites spent 86 more minutes watching the NCAA tournament than those who do not, according to a Nielsen survey released Thursday today by the American Gaming Association.
Engagement with bracket sites drives viewership most heavily in the early rounds of the tournament – before brackets start busting – creating higher levels of fan engagement even for less competitive games.
Earlier this month, AGA estimated that 40 million Americans will wager $2 billion on more than 70 million brackets. Overall, $9.2 billion will be bet on March Madness this year, with 97 percent of such activity occurring illegally. Legal sports betting in the U.S. is largely banned beyond Nevada.
“Greater engagement in March Madness – on which Americans bet billions of dollars – significantly increases viewership of the NCAA tournament,” said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO. “Despite the current federal prohibition of sports betting, we would expect a similar trend to exist in all sports – the more invested, the more viewership, creating lucrative opportunities for advertisers and broadcasters alike.”
According to other recent research, if sports betting were to be legalized in every U.S. state, approximately 29 million new bettors would generate an additional $32 billion per year in wagering activity.
Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: .