Audacy is the College Basketball Tournament MVP (most valuable platform)

By Audacy Insights Team

When the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments tip-off, it’s a cultural moment that sparks water cooler chatter and a social media frenzy. Everyone from die-hard fans to casual spectators join the fun, filling out brackets and cheering on their favorite schools. Audacy is the home court for live games and for the “talk around the game” for these excited listeners.

“The Men’s and Women’s Tournaments create interest for so many people,” noted Audacy’s Senior Vice President of Sports, Lee Davis. “They want to be part of the conversation and track how they’re doing with their brackets.”

This time of year, tourney time is an obsession woven through fans’ daily lives, connecting with a wide range of listeners. The tournaments’ broad appeal and Audio’s massive reach help brand partners extend their messaging to desirable consumers. 

“Audio is convenient and a daily ritual — that’s heightened during the tourney,” says Katie Stone, Director of Strategic Marketing on Audacy’s Sports Monetization Team. “People want to listen to the action and then talk about the games, their schools, and how their brackets are doing. We have all of it — the games, plus the next day’s analysis and that’s our advantage.”

Meet the College Basketball Fans

The tournament draws loyal sports fans and curious observers who are interested in college basketball.1

The Audacy Advantage

At Audacy, we live and breathe college basketball. Across our platforms, Audacy reaches 18 million NCAA basketball fans weekly. Nearly 50% of our tournament listeners tune into Radio for more than two hours daily and are twice as likely to listen to podcasts.

Audacy delivers for all levels of fandom with expert pre- and post-game analysis, bracket breakdowns, and compelling stories on players and teams. 

“We surround the tourney from game time to all the talk about the games; from tip-off to the next day’s coverage, we’re all over it,” Davis notes.

Audiences trust and respect our sports insiders, and their endorsements can be as persuasive as a recommendation from your best friend. If a hoops podcaster headlines a bracket challenge or a sports talk personality reveals a sub shop is their favorite halftime snack, listeners take note. 

“When listeners hear their favorite hosts talking about a sponsor, it takes that trust to the next level,” says Stone. 

The college tournament is also a marquee event for sports betting. Americans spent $15.5 million on tournament wagers in 2023, an 82% increase from 2019, and tournament listeners are 56% more likely to bet on NCAA basketball.2

“Sports betting is a big part of the conversation now, and this is the second biggest sports betting event after the Super Bowl,” Davis notes. “Our BetQL Network has great hosts and shows, and understand how to talk about wagering in an informative and entertaining way.”

Our 32 BET QL sports betting stations offer wall-to-wall coverage, and many of our local Radio stations chime in too, creating additional touchpoints for sponsors.

Audio is the Winning Sports Media

Tournament listeners are young and affluent. Among the Men’s Tournament audience, 43% report a household income greater than $100,000, and nearly 60% are between 18 and 49.3

Women are super-fans, too, a testament to college basketball’s broad appeal. Women comprise one-quarter of listeners for the Men’s tournament and 40% of the audience for the Women’s Tournament.4 

Importantly, listeners don’t tune out their supporting advertisers; they lean in. About half of sports fans say they’ve learned about brands through Audio ads, and 43% said Audio ads drive them to try a new brand.

Audio has the edge over TV. According to a recent study on media attention, Audio is more immersive than linear TV, and, notably, sports Audio is more engaging than other sports media.

Audio also helps brands achieve their campaign goals better than TV. Per Nielsen, consumers exposed to sports advertising indicate Audio is 11% more effective than TV at raising brand awareness and 9% more convincing at getting them to test a brand.6

At Audacy, college basketball postseason is prime time. The tournament is highly valuable and impactful, attracting one of sports’ most diverse audiences. We can help brand partners seize the opportunity with any size lineup (or budget). So, design your play and get in the game. 

Audacy’s Top Five 2024 Tournament Plays: 

Brands can join the madness with custom sponsorship opportunities in these Audacy originals.

Eye on College Basketball

In partnership with CBS Sports Podcasts, the “Eye on College Basketball” podcast will double down on the tournament with daily episodes offering game updates, news, and predictions from hosts Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander. 

Countdown to Tip-Off

BET QL’s three-part original series will preview the 2024 matchups and standout players and offer insider insights on sports betting from experts, including Nick Kostos. Bet MGM is the exclusive sponsor. 

Tourney Updates

From tournament tip-off to the Final Four, Audacy Sports’ hosts will share bite-sized updates on game winners, losers, unexpected heroes, and spoilers across Audacy Radio stations and digital streaming.

Cash the Ticket 

Sponsored by FanDuel, this sports wagering podcast features co-hosts Mike Valenti and Jim Costa dishing on the latest lineups, anticipated matchups, and best wagers.  

TK’s Take with Tony K

Audacy’s sports talk superstar Tony Kornheiser, host of the eponymous The Tony Kornheiser Show, will share his tournament predictions in this four-part pre-tournament spinoff and chime in with live reads throughout the tournament. 

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

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1, 2, 3, 4  Nielsen Scarborough National Database 2023 Release 2 Total, Sports listened to on radio: NCAA Men’s or Women’s Tournament

5  Audio Amplification, Engaged Impressions Study, Alter Agents, October 2020

6 Nielsen Commspoint 2024, Sports fans, Cost taken into account for metric analysis.


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