NCAA’s March Madness Connects With Facebook

I was reading an interesting piece in Mashable about a partnership between Facebook and the NCAA in regards to the March Madness tournament that featured a fan contest and so I hustled on over to participate.

I imagined glory in my picking ability; after all I was first in my pool last year. Well at least after the first day, overall I finished dead last which one fellow member told me was almost mathematically impossible, but these things happen.

Sadly when I got to the Facebook page the contest was closed, which was a pity. However it was not a contest to pick the winners of the tournament, although one of those might be in the offing. Rather the contest, called the Super 10, is a very cleaver twist on the tournament and really meant for a much more serious college hoops fan than myself.

The contest selected 10 hardcore fans and teaches them about the intricacies of the selection process and how the choices are made. It was more than just filling out a form or sending in your name, A 30-second video was required as well in which the entrant needed to explain why their in-depth understanding of the sport made them the perfect choice for the contest. After the entries are all in a fan vote would select the 10 winners.

Well sadly that is all said and done and now 10 people will be flown to Atlanta and given a 4 day/3 night stay with tickets to the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament and a tour of Turner studios as part of the prize.

What is interesting is that this is a very clever way for the NCAA to tout its tournament in a new way to fans using social media as the primary tool to attract them and to judge the winners. All this without getting into trouble by looking like they are promoting gambling, which they would never do.

As a first attempt to partner with social media it is a very strong one, and the only failing I can see is that it was not well enough known by some groups of fans. I talked to a number of huge hoops fans while watching the Super Bowl and most said that they would have liked to participate, although several expressed some concern about making the video.

According to the stats on the Facebook site roughly 217,000 liked the contest, but that is really just a drop in the bucket. There will probably be that many office pools in California alone once the tournament starts.

This is the first partnership between Facebook and the NCAA and it will surely not be the last. The power of social media is growing daily, from a source of protest to positioning products. With almost a billion users it is an easy tool for the NCAA to reach both its base but also to reach out to new markets.


  1. if it ain’t broke, lets break it!

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