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A blue basketball against a blue background in an image for a blog about Meltwater's social listening analysis of March Madness 2024.

March Madness 2024: Top Conversation Topics and Trends

Ann-Derrick Gaillot and Elena Tarasova

Apr 9, 2024

Did you tune in to March Madness? If so, you were one of tens of millions of people who watched the NCAA college basketball tournament this year. In the end, the men’s team from the University of Connecticut took home their second championship trophy in a row. Meanwhile, the South Carolina Gamecocks, led by coach and WNBA alum Dawn Staley, became the women’s team champions. And though it’s clear who won March Madness on the court, marketers need to know who generated the most hype out in the world.

We used our social listening and analytics solution to look at which teams, topics, people, and brands got NCAA basketball fans talking most this year. Read on to learn more about how March Madness played out across social media, news, and other digital sources.

Top Locations

From March Madness’s start on March 19 through the men’s championship game on April 8, there were almost 3.4 million mentions of the tournament. That volume is lower than last year’s 4 million mentions.

Read our social listening analysis of the 2023 tournament.

A bar chart showing the top locations of March Madness mentions: 1. Texas (128k) 2. California (121k) 3. New York (106k) 4. North Carolina (83.1k) 5. Florida (77.5k) 6. Illinois (65.1k) 7. Ohio (62.6k) 8. Tennessee (55.4k) 9. Pennsylvania (53.3k) 10. Kansas (48k)

Texas and California had the first- and second-highest volumes of March Madness mentions in 2024 and 2023.

The 2024 top 10 locations for March Madness conversations are similar to 2023, with New York and North Carolina rising in the ranks. This could be thanks to the NC State Wolfpack men’s and women’s teams making it to the Final Four. 

Texas and California had the first- and second-highest volumes of March Madness mentions. This may be due to both states having many different teams in the tournament. There were five California teams in the women’s March Madness bracket and three in the men’s. Texas sent five teams to the women’s tournament and six teams to the men’s. 

Interestingly, states that had teams in the finals — South Carolina, Iowa, Connecticut, and Indiana — were not in the top 10 locations for March Madness mentions. And Arizona, where the men’s finals took place this year, ranked 24th.

Top Topics

Of the five top storylines across sources, two were about the men’s tournament and three were about the women’s.

A chart showing bubble clusters of the top storylines and topics of March Madness 2024.

Meltwater’s social listening and analytics platform uses LLM-powered clustering technology to detect popular topics and narratives across different content formats and platforms.

Most of the top stories from this year’s tournament were about the hype of the games themselves. However, one of the biggest stories of March Madness 2024 was the Utah women’s team having to switch hotels during the tournament after facing racist incidents at their original hotel in Idaho.

Top Entities 

The top entities of this year’s March Madness conversation have one notable standout.

A word cloud showing the top entities of March Madness 2024, with NCAA being the largest.

Only UConn came close to matching the NCAA’s prominence in March Madness conversations.

Caitlin Clark is the only individual in a sea of sports organizations. This is a testament to her star power and the value of her brand, even as she ends her college career never having won the NCAA Championship.

Men’s vs. Women’s

Overall, there were about 212,000 more mentions of the men’s teams than the women’s, but the trend of the conversations fluctuated as the tournament reached its final stages.

A line chart showing mentions of the women's tournament versus those of the men's tournament from March 19 to April 8.

Mentions of the women’s teams were higher than those of the men’s teams on eight out of the 21 days of the tournament. 

From April 1 through April 5, as well as the day of the women’s finals on April 7, conversations about the women’s teams surpassed those about the men’s. Mentions about the men’s teams had notable spikes on March 21, the start of the first round, April 6, the day of the Final Four, and April 8, the day of the championship game.

A line chart shows mentions of the men's final four teams throughout March Madness.

The UConn Huskies had 35k more mentions than the Purdue Boilermakers.

Of the men’s teams, the UConn Huskies, the tournament winners, also had the highest volume of mentions. At times, the NC State Wolfpack and Purdue Boilermakers generated more mentions than UConn, but for the majority of March Madness, the Huskies were the most talked about team.

A line chart shows mentions of the women's final four teams throughout March Madness.

The UConn Huskies had 39k more mentions than the South Carolina Gamecocks.

On the women’s side, the most talked about team fluctuated more often. While the Huskies had the highest volume of mentions overall, the South Carolina Gamecocks champions were the most talked about team by the tournament’s end.

Collectively, though, it’s safe to say the UConn and NC State basketball programs are the true overall winners here.

Top Sponsors

Our visual analysis of team sponsor logos detected in images related to March Madness shows that Nike was the powerhouse of the tournament.

A line chart showing the top sponsor logos found in images in the March Madness conversation from March 19 to April 8.

We used Meltwater's visual analytics features to detect sponsor logos in non-verbal/non-textual content posted across news and X.

The iconic sports brand sponsored three of the Final Four teams in the men’s tournament, including the UConn champions, and two of the Final Four teams in the women’s tournament. And though Under Armour sponsored the women’s champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks, Nike sponsored the second-place Iowa Hawkeyes. This meant that every time the camera was focused on star Caitlin Clark, viewers got an eyeful of the iconic swoosh.

Final takeaways

In broad strokes, the “winners” of the March Madness conversation were:

  • Texas - a top state for communities of basketball fans
  • Caitlin Clark - the star player of the tournament
  • UConn - the most prominent of the March Madness schools
  • Nike - the most visible brand

Looking forward to next year, there are some potential openings. Who will rise to become the new star of women’s college basketball? Which brand could give Nike a run for their money? And how could the next host city impact the top locations ranking?

The deeper marketers dive into the data, the more insights emerge. Interested in digging further into the conversation about March Madness and other major events that impact your brand? Learn how with a demo of the Meltwater Suite: