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How Americans Will Follow March Madness in 2011: Social Media and Mobile Applications Dominate Activity

Research reveals nearly 1 in 4 online Americans will use social media to follow NCAA Tournament

BALTIMORE, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly one in four online American adults (23%) revealed that they will be using some form of social media to follow this year's men's NCAA Tournament, according to new research released today from IMRE Sports, and conducted on their behalf by Harris Interactive. The research showed that among those who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, 27% plan to utilize a mobile application to do so.

These are some of the results released of the survey of 2,366 American adults surveyed online between February 24 and 28, 2011 by Harris Interactive. The research was spearheaded by the Maryland-based sports marketing agency, IMRE Sports.

Social networking sites top resources to follow the games

The way Americans utilize resources to follow March Madness paints a unique picture of how brands can focus their spending as digital and social media options continue to rise in popularity.

Of the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following:

  • 50% will use social networking sites
  • 31% will specifically utilize YouTube
  • 27% will utilize a mobile application

The research also revealed that those with higher household incomes ($75K+) and college graduates are more likely to be planning to use mobile applications and Twitter.

Checking scores atop reasons why fans plan to follow games via social media channels

The focus of why Americans plan to use social media to follow March Madness in 2011 reveals a variety of trends that brands can exploit via advertising.

Among the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following statistics:

  • 62% will use social media channels specifically to check the scores
  • 44% will use them to watch the games
  • 44% will use them to follow their favorite team/college
  • 40% will use them to follow their own bracket/other gaming purposes
  • 19% will utilize social media channels to follow their favorite player/coach

The research also shows that men will be more likely than women to use social media to follow March Madness, by a margin of 3 to 1 (32% men vs. 14% women).

Facebook is the most popular social media channel for men's college basketball fans throughout the season

March Madness aside, social media channels are very popular amongst men's college basketball fans year round. The survey revealed that roughly two in five online Americans (42%) follow men's college basketball throughout the year. Among those followers, the research also revealed statistics that might impact how brands spend money on college basketball next year.

Of the 42% who follow men's college basketball throughout the year, the study showed:

  • 44% use social media tools to interact with the sport
  • Facebook is the most popular way to follow/interact with the sport (25%), followed by Twitter (13%) and blogs (13%). 11% interact via online forums.
    • Specifically, Facebook Pages (18%) and Twitter accounts (10%) hosted by sports or news networks are the most popular.
    • Roughly one in 10 (13%) follow/interact with a team/college Facebook Page. 7% follow/interact with a player/coach Facebook Page.

"As more fans continue to engage in social media channels to view sports and follow their favorite teams and players, there are more opportunities for brands to share their messages with the very targeted demographic that lies within sports fans," said Kelly Nowlan, research director at IMRE Sports.

For more statistics and insight on the implications of this research, visit the IMRE Sports IQ blog at www.IMRESportsIQ.com.

About the survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of IMRE Sports from February 24 to 28, 2011 among 2,366 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Kelly Nowlan at 410-821-8220 or [email protected].

About IMRE Sports

IMRE is an agency of marketing experts serving brands and clients invested in the Sports Industry. IMRE Sports connects brands to fans and helps corporations leverage their sponsorship investments to generate more brand exposure and fan engagement. IMRE's clients include Target, Stanley Black & Decker and John Deere. Services include marketing, public relations, social marketing, advertising, emerging media and research. For more information, visit www.imresports.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE IMRE Sports

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