How Radio Targets College Hoops Fans


NCAA March MadnessHow can radio sell to the March Madness consumer?

Westwood One commissioned custom research from Nielsen Audio to find out.

Analyzing the NCAA listening audience in all 48 Portable People Meter markets, when Nielsen 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.

The findings show NCAA radio listeners are more engaged fans and consume more games on average than the general NCAA basketball audience. The majority — 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.

28% 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.

Other findings: 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 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. 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.”