Every spring, March Madness sweeps the nation, and in offices and bars around the country people start working on their brackets hoping to predict the winner of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. More people than ever are now picking brackets – including even the President. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), 40 million people filled out approximately 70 million brackets last year, with an average bet per bracket of $29. The trade group estimated that Americans wagered $9.2 billion (97 percent of that was bet illegally) on the tournament this year through office pools, Nevada sports books, offshore sites and bookmakers.
The AGA believed that fans who fill out brackets, either online at a fantasy sports site or via a mobile app, watched more of the tournament on linear television than those who didn’t participate in brackets. Through the Sports Group at Nielsen’s analysis of hard data, they were able to prove it.