Commentary

YouTube's March Madness Videos: 22M Views In Two Months

The NCAA’s March Madness is so mad it won’t be over until the sixth day in April, and that's the day after the Major League Baseball season begins.

That’s madness, and this time for the first time, there’s an official March Madness channel on YouTube. As of April 1, it’s had 4.441,845 million views as since the tournament of 68 schools began March 17.

Altogether, as Pixability counts it up, there have 22 million views of March Madness related content on YouTube, and a total of 1,130 videos posted.

We’re talking crazy-big YouTube numbers here. But NCAA March Madness channel, launched Jan. 26 seems to be a very ordinary instance of temporary insanity compared to the similar launch of a first-ever NFL Channel on YouTube on Dec 14, 2014.

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That had 18.8 million views in its first two months, a time span that included the Super Bowl. That’s four times the madness of March.

None of those are numbers to sneeze at, says Peter Jamieson, a data scientist for Pixability, and a proud graduate of tiny Carlton College in Northfield, MN., who can eternally watch the college tournament with a level of detachment. 

However much of a big business you think the NCAA is (and it is enormous), Jamieson points out, “it doesn’t have the marketing sophistication” of the NFL. The NCAA Isn’t as aggressive about capturing the national spotlight,” he says, nor does March Madness compare as a crazy quasi-holiday and advertising showcase. 

“March Madness is not quite the bonanza the Super Bowl is,” he reasons.

He also points out that the 4.4 million views the March Madness channel has grabbed would be a stat any YouTube star would like to claim two months after launching.

More interesting is the YouTube action for four major March Madness sponsors. Viewability says Capital One has had 28% more YouTube views in March than it did in February; Buffalo Wild Wings enjoyed a 21.7% increase and Reese’s peanut butter cup YouTube views went up 12%. Only AT&T was stuck in neutral, with just an 0.6% increase, but that still meant 63.5 million views. Its blah numbers might be partly a result of starting at a high base.

Pixability has also kept track of how YouTube is for schools in the tournament, tabulating videos of all sorts, from academics to other sports.  

In that competition, the Final Four schools' popularity on YouTube is pretty much inverse to enrollment. Duke, with around 15,000 students, has videos that have attracted 130 million views,  the University of Kentucky has 95.5 million, the University of Wisconsin has 70 million views and Michigan State, with about 50,000 students, has videos that have attracted 48 million YouTube views.


pj@mediapost.com

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