Lessons from March Madness on how to truly engage fans.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

Madness indeed. It’s as though everyone is losing their minds over the NCAA playoffs. So why has everyone gone basketball bonkers?


  • For one thing, who doesn’t love clever alliteration? March Madness, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four.
  • It’s single game elimination.
  • The timing is impeccable given March has a major excitement gap in sports.
  • With all the gambling, choosing brackets, pools, the fans are involved.
  • And there are a whopping 68 teams which get whittled down to The One who walks away with it all. On top of that, half the teams in the playoffs are the winners in their division and the other half are selected by a committee which guarantees incredible excitement and mega upsets as the underdogs have a chance at glory. Allow us to declare that there’s no hope in hell #1 seed Kentucky will win: the odds of going all the way are heavily stacked against them.

Because of all this March Madness breaks through, it appeals to short attention spans and it captures the imagination. Show me a marketer that can’t learn from this for brand events. Do you have a pithy name, a counter schedule, can you surprise your audience with back stories and then gamify it all?

So sports fans, do you think the Mayweather-Pacquiao title fight can generate anywhere this level of excitement? It’s already expected to rake in $400 million but we think not. We’ll get back to you in May….