Brands are eager to tap into the massive audience tuning in for Saturday’s NCAA Final Four games, but the categories those fans are spending the most money on might surprise you. According to Wunderman—which analyzed 1.87 million social media mentions for its new study on March Madness fans’ buying behaviors—they spend the most on children’s apparel, toys and baby products.
Overall, NCAA basketball has a younger fan profile than Major League Baseball. The average March Madness fan is male, between the ages of 35 and 39, married with children and has an annual income between $75,000 and $100,000, according to the study. “Not only are these fans younger, but they’re big spenders,” said Yannis Kotziagkiaouridis, global head of analytics at Wunderman. “From an advertising perspective, the data challenged the stereotypes of who’s watching the sport and how they’re experiencing it and their buying behaviors.”
Hot Wheels, Hello Kitty, Disney, Huggies and Barbie are some of the top brands in terms of fan spending, according to the study.
“The fact that the sport is family oriented is significant,” Kotziagkiaouridis said. “The conventional wisdom would say, ‘Let’s advertise sports cars,’ but the March Madness fan is a little bit different than everybody thinks.”