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Make Way for Madness

Major Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament Semifinalists Generate $3M in Post Value

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Social Media
March 16, 2023
March 16, 2023
 min read

March embodies everything that makes college basketball wholesome and grand. In a sport that has become awash with NIL deals, player movement, and individualism, tournament time resets the ideals that college athletics long claimed to profess. While brackets are in the balance, the pursuit of a championship takes precedence over personal accolades. But before March Madness and its field of 68 is set, conference tournaments across the country stoke the passion that will persist until one team earns the right to cut the nets at the Final Four. Slates are wiped clean for all 358 Division I programs, and the team that peaks at the perfect moment shares an eternal glorious bond. While all 32 leagues are pivotal to the sport’s landscape and allure, a subset of major conferences drives the majority of national discussion and comprises the pool of realistic championship contenders. As such, we used MVP’s social platform to examine how the AAC, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12, and SEC promoted themselves and their top teams across owned accounts during their tournaments last week. Included in our study was all relevant content from March 7-13, as we excepted various non-related hashtags and keywords accounting for more than $10K in total post value. Our analysis also incorporates social metrics from each of the schools that reached the semifinal stage of their respective conference tournaments. Ultimately, we found the group of 28 teams collectively generated $3.05M worth of post value during the period, with one Tobacco Road powerhouse accounting for 20.4% of the total.

Blue Blood Executes Social Fast Break

Duke’s men’s basketball program is no stranger to the spotlight. Its history includes five national championships, 17 Final Fours – including at least one in each of the last seven decades – and 22 ACC tournament titles after last week’s triumph in Greensboro. The private institution with an undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 7,000 students has become a national brand because of its on-court success. And as a result, Duke basketball’s social followers number 4.27 million – at least 2.66x more than any other team we evaluated. So it was no surprise to discover the Blue Devils took the top spot in every major social category except engagement rate. Duke generated $621.6K worth of total post value throughout the week, besting Kansas’s figure by 2.53x and surpassing Purdue’s total by 2.88x. Notably, KU and Purdue were the only other teams to exceed $200K in post value for the period. Furthermore, Duke was the only team to exceed 1 million engagements – finishing the week with 1.47 million – and one of only two entities to surpass 10 million total impressions, amassing 27.8 million. Remarkably, Duke also led all teams in average post value, engagements, and impressions.

In total, 11 major conference semifinalists generated at least $100K worth of post value last week, with four from the same conference finishing in the top seven of our rankings. The Big Ten had one of the most unpredictable tournaments this season, with two double-digit seeds reaching the semifinals. Eventual runner-up Penn State, who entered the Big Ten tournament in Chicago as a 10-seed, placed fifth in our post value rankings – behind Duke, Kansas, Purdue, and Texas. But more extraordinarily, the Nittany Lions’ 3.22% engagement rate ranked first among all team entities. SEC Champion Alabama finished eighth in our post value rankings last week with $147.2K, following a trio of Big Ten squads in PSU, Indiana, and Ohio State.

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Coasting to the Top of Team Value Rankings

Dating back to the days of a single team from each league being invited to participate in the national tournament, the Atlantic Coast Conference was the first to stage a postseason tournament to determine its champion. The tradition began a trend that is now commonplace across the college basketball landscape. And this year, thanks in large part to Duke’s social dominance, the ACC’s semifinalists had the highest collective post value as well as the most combined engagements and impressions of any major conference’s quartet. Duke, Virginia, Miami, and Clemson combined to generate $814.7K worth of brand value, although the Blue Devils accounted for 76.3% of that total. The ACC teams were also responsible for 1.87 million engagements and 36.7 million impressions to lead both metrics. Finishing the week second in all three categories was the Big Ten contingent. Of all seven sets we studied, the Big Ten teams were the most active, sharing 810 total posts. The content resulted in $720.5K worth of post value, 1.65 million engagements, and 32.8 million impressions. Rounding out the top three were the Big XII semifinalists, as they were the only other division with at least $500K in combined post value. Their 1.07 million engagements helped produce $512.4K in overall value.

SEC Shows Its Range

The Southeastern Conference readily touts its “It Just Means More” mantra across every sport it sponsors. But typically, the refrain is most applicable to football. This year, however, the top basketball team in the SEC has also been the top team in the country. Alabama won the conference regular season and proceeded to thwart each challenger it faced in the conference tournament by double digits en route to securing the top overall seed in the national tournament. And throughout the week, the SEC affirmed it just means more in the south by outdoing its counterparts on social media. Across league-owned accounts, the SEC generated $324.8K worth of post value – 65.6% more than the Big XII amassed and more than double each of the other five leagues. The SEC was also the only conference to surpass 10 million impressions – accumulating 15 million in total – despite its median post count total. The Big XII and Big Ten swept second and third, respectively, among conferences in total post value, engagements, and impressions. Conspicuously, the Big East, with only 71.7K followers across its owned accounts, did the poorest job of promoting itself and its schools. Throughout the seven days ending March 13, it managed only $1,568 worth of post value and a mere 2,127 engagements. Both amount to less than 1% of what the SEC achieved in the respective metrics.

Cue the Band – It Is Time to Dance

With conference tournaments in the rearview mirror, college basketball’s most exciting three weeks are upon us. Between now and early April, every game serves as a stepping stone toward a national championship. The pageantry of the Big Dance encompasses stunning upsets, buzzer-beating finishes, hopes dashed, and dreams realized. The NCAA Tournament, at its best, is a reminder of how pure and quaint college athletics can be. MVP will monitor both the men’s and women’s fields on broadcast and social media, so stay connected with us for further omnichannel insights.

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