TicketManager | Looking Back on 2024’s Madness

The 2024 March Madness tournaments have come to a close with both odds-on favorites, UConn and South Carolina, winning the Men’s and Women’s championships respectively. This year’s tournaments were full of upsets and surprises, adding up to a phenomenal conclusion for the 2024 seasons of men’s and women’s college hoops. Here are some of the most notable happenings around this year’s Madness:

Viewership Through the Roof

For the first time in March Madness history, the women outdrew the men in viewership! Thanks in no small part to the incredible star power of now-former Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, who was the focus of a recent TicketManager blog, the women’s championship game drew 18.9 million average viewers compared to 14.82 million for the men’s.

That 18.9 million average was enough to make it the most-watched women’s college basketball game of all time, surpassing the Iowa-UConn semifinal game from earlier in the tournament. It is also the second most-watched non-Olympic women’s sporting event in history! Other telecasts that South Carolina – Iowa surpassed includes: the Grammys (17.1 million), the SEC Football Championship (17.5 million), every Kentucky Derby since 1983, every final round of the Masters since 2001, and all but two prime-time telecasts from the Tokyo Olympics.

Both finals saw upped viewership numbers from 2023, with the men’s increasing by 4% and the women’s seeing a staggering 89% improvement.

 

Sponsoring Brands Earned Record Value

According to AI company Hive, brands who sponsored March Madness earned a combined $482 million in brand exposure value throughout the men’s and women’s tournaments. That is up significantly from $410 million in earned value during the 2023 edition of the tournament.

A number of TicktManager clients are peppered throughout top-ten, including Capital One, who sits in second place with $54.4 million in equivalent media value. Capital One was the title sponsor of the Capital One JamFest during the March Madness concert series, an event that earned significant exposure for the brand. Our partners at Coca-Cola took the number four spot ($10.8 million), with Coca-Cola Company owned brand Powerade sitting in third at $12.2 million. Finally, Geico earned the sixth spot with $6.1 million in exposure value.

 

Attendance Records Shattered

Viewership records weren’t the only ones being broken. Attendance also reached record highs. The total women’s tournament attendance was a staggering 436,055, setting the all-time record!

The men’s attendance didn’t disappoint either, drawing a crowd of 74,423 for the National Championship Game, which is the third highest in championship game history. The full men’s Final Four attendance, the two semi-final games and the championship combined, was the fifth highest in history with 149,143 making it out to Glendale, Arizona over the two-day period.

 

Host Cities Cash Out

According to a report from the Common Sense Institute of Arizona, hosting the men’s Final Four is expected to have generated a jaw dropping $250-$300 million in economic impact for the state of Arizona over the four-day event period.

Cleveland, the host of the women’s final four, was first projected to generate $15-$20 million in economic impact on the city. But, thanks to the surging popularity of women’s college basketball, new projections expect an excess of $30 million in economic activity for The Land.

San Antonio and Tampa Bay, the hosts of the 2025 men’s and women’s Final Fours respectively, won’t be able to cash in on the allure of stars like Zach Edey and Caitlin Clark. But the arrival of phenom freshman Cooper Flagg and the rising stardom of USC’s Juju Watkins should help to continue the success that these tournaments have seen as of late.