NCAA March Madness on Westwood One: The TV Accelerator And Upscale Mass Reach

January 20, 2022 By Scott Anekstein

Click here to view a 7-minute video of Pierre Bouvard, President of the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group, presenting the key findings.

Click here to download the 2021 NCAA Basketball Listening Report.

While this season’s NFL story has yet to write its glorious conclusion, marketers and agencies must look ahead to consider how their brands will achieve reach, resonance, and receptivity to secure sales goals. They need look no further than the explosive cultural phenomenon that is NCAA March Madness.

Casual fans and diehards alike are about to be swept into the euphoria of collegiate basketball. Westwood One’s exclusive NCAA basketball coverage showcases more than 350 hours of live men’s basketball action consisting of 107 games plus pregame and postgame programming. Fans can listen on AM/FM radio, SiriusXM, digital audio streams, and smart speakers.

For marketers, March Madness on Westwood One is a dream come true:

The NCAA on Westwood One is a reach machine with 33 million people listening each season

A new Nielsen Portable People Meter analysis of season-long audiences reveals NCAA audio audiences grow and grow each week, accumulating massive audience reach. Advertisers who buy across the entirety of the season receive enormous incremental audience reach.

From the first tipoff to the excitement of the Final Four, NCAA basketball on Westwood One builds reach by bringing in new listeners each week. Throughout the regular season, the reach of Westwood One’s NCAA basketball broadcasts grows by ten times.

During March Madness, reach grows by +38% between the first and second rounds and the championship game. Advertising throughout the season gives brands the opportunity to tap into a massive cumulative reach of 33 million consumers.

Westwood One’s audio platform reaches over a third of the entire March Madness audience

On average, the NCAA March Madness audience uses 3.4 media platforms to follow the tournament, according to a MARU/Matchbox study.

The younger the NCAA audience, the greater the reach and resonance of Westwood One’s audio platform: Among persons 18-34, Westwood One reaches a stunning 59% as the number two platform beating linear television

Among the persons 18-34 NCAA basketball audience, a massive 59% listen to Westwood One’s audio coverage. Amazingly, Westwood One’s NCAA audio coverage is the number two persons 18-34 access platform, beating linear television.

NCAA audio listeners are far more passionate and engaged compared to the average fan, following the tournament on twice as many platforms and catching more games

According to the MARU/Matchbox study, compared to the average NCAA fan:

  • The NCAA audio audience is +32% more likely to have attended an NCAA school
  • The audio audience is +33% more likely to rate the NCAA tournament as an eight or higher on a 1-10 appeal scale
  • NCAA audio fans follow +17% more games
  • The NCAA audio audience is +14% more likely to follow the tournament to the final

Westwood One’s NCAA audio fans are passionate, following the tournament on twice as many platforms

The Westwood One audio audience loves the NCAA and wants more of it. Using an average of 6.3 platforms, they use almost all of the seven media platforms available to follow the tournament.

Out of the home, NCAA fans use Westwood One’s audio coverage and digital platforms to follow the tournament

In the home, linear TV is naturally the most utilized platform to follow the tournament. Still, 36% of at-home fans catch the tournament on Westwood One.

Out of the home, digital video is the leading platform (73%), followed by linear TV (67%) and Westwood One audio coverage (61%). Those who follow the tournament away from home use more platforms compared to the fans following at home.

Westwood One audio fills the need when fans are out of the home. Away-from-home tune-in, whether in the car, at work, or in some other place, is far more prevalent among fans following the action on Westwood One.

Westwood One NCAA audio generates incremental reach to the March Madness media plan

Adding Westwood One audio to an NCAA video plan generates a +19% increase in reach and amplifies frequency. Audio makes your TV better.

The Westwood One NCAA basketball audience is upscale and full-time employed

Westwood One’s NCAA basketball coverage delivers a covetable, upscale audience. AM/FM radio appeals to the busy, employed consumer on the go. That is one of the reasons why the NCAA basketball audio audience has a higher income and is more likely to be employed full time than the total U.S. population.

Partnering with Westwood One on an NCAA basketball marketing campaign offers advertisers the opportunity to reach huge groups of incremental audiences who are following their favorite teams while out of the home.

The Westwood One NCAA audio platform:

  • Attracts 33 million persons with an audience that builds across the entire season
  • Reaches 36% of the total tournament audience and beats linear TV among persons 18-34
  • Represents a more passionate and more engaged audience compared to the average fan
  • Delivers consumers away from home as the “best available screen”
  • Generates incremental reach to the March Madness media plan
  • Offers brands an upscale and employed audience

Click here to view a 7-minute video of Pierre Bouvard, President of the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group, presenting the key findings.

Download the 2021 NCAA Basketball Listening Report.

Scott Anekstein is the VP of Research at Westwood One.

Contact the Insights team at