All-Time Record High 11.01 Million Brackets Submitted in ESPN.com’s Men’s Tournament Challenge Game

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All-Time Record High 11.01 Million Brackets Submitted in ESPN.com’s Men’s Tournament Challenge Game

“National Bracket” Picks No. 1 Seeds Florida, Arizona, No. 4 Seeds Michigan State, Louisville in Final Four, Florida to Win

President Barack Obama to Fill out Women’s Bracket in ESPN Exclusive on Friday, March 21

Fans submitted more than 11.01 million brackets to ESPN.com’s annual Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by Acura and Allstate, an all-time record high surpassing last year’s record of nearly 8.15 million brackets by 35.1 percent.  At the peak period, fans registered 11,983 brackets per minute (199 brackets per second).  From Selection Sunday through Wednesday, Men’s Tournament Challenge and the NCAA Men’s Basketball section on ESPN.com across desktop, mobile Web and the ESPN Tournament Challenge and SportsCenter apps logged an average minute audience of 61,000, up 16 percent compared to the same time period last year.  Across platforms, there were nearly 3.8 million unique visitors per day to Men’s Tournament Challenge (up 22 percent) and 5.9 million unique visitors per day to the NCAA Men’s Basketball section (up 18 percent).

The Men’s Tournament ChallengeNational Bracket” – reflecting the percentage of people picking each match-up throughout the men’s tournament – showed that more fans picked Florida, Michigan State, Arizona and Louisville to reach the Final Four than any other teams.  In those predictions:

  • No. 4 Louisville was picked to advance over two no. 1 seeds in the road to the championship – Wichita State in the Sweet Sixteen (67 percent of the time) and Arizona in the Final Four  (58 percent of the time)
  • No. 4 Michigan State was picked to defeat no. 1 Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen 64 percent of the time, but fall in the Final Four to no. 1 Florida (35 percent vs. 65 percent)
  • 74 percent of brackets chose Florida to win the national championship

An analysis of Round of 64 picks by more than 11.01 million brackets finds:

  • No. 6 Massachusetts vs. no. 11 Tennessee is the closest match-up in the round (57 percent vs. 43 percent)
  • 99 percent of brackets picked Florida over no. 16 seed Albany, the largest margin of any match-up in the round
  • No. 8 seeds Memphis and Kentucky were picked to defeat the no. 9s in the East and Midwest (66 percent and 77 percent, respectively)
  • No. 9 seeds Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State were picked to advance over the no. 8s in the South and West (71 percent and 65 percent, respectively)

A full round-by-round breakdown of picks can be found under “Who Picked Whom” on ESPN.com, listing the percentage of participants who selected each team to win in each respective round.  At the end of the tournament, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for the $10,000 Best Buy Gift Card prize.

The Women’s Tournament Challenge presented by Capital One will be accepting entries until just prior to tip-off of the first game on Saturday, March 22.  President Barack Obama fills out his women’s tournament bracket in an exclusive ESPN interview with Rebecca Lobo tomorrow during the 9 a.m. ET hour of SportsCenter.  Entries that finish in the top 1% of the Women’s Tournament Challenge are entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy Gift Card.

2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament Across ESPN Digital Platforms

FiveThirtyEight founder and editor-in-chief Nate Silver will update his interactive bracket throughout the tournament, calculating the probability of each team’s chances of winning its next game and of going on to win the tournament.  Probabilities will be updated at the conclusion of each game.  He will also write periodic blog updates throughout the tournament.  The newly expanded site will also deliver other data-driven stories tied to brackets from other contributors including Carl Bialik (senior writer, news), Roger Pielke Jr. (contributor) and others.

ESPN.com will provide complete coverage of the men’s tournament from Selection Sunday through the Final Four. The lineup of experts and analysts includes Andrea Adelson, Eamonn Brennan, C.L. Brown, Kieran Darcy, Chantel Jennings, Andy Katz, Joe Lunardi, Myron Medcalf, Dana O’Neil, Rick Reilly, Adam Rittenberg, Mitch Sherman, Jake Trotter and Austin Ward, as well as ESPN Insiders Jeff Goodman and John Gasaway.  Collectively, they will break down the brackets and provide analysis, commentary and features.  Additionally, ESPN.com’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) will be available for fans to reference the latest power rankings by team to assist in their bracket picks.

espnW.com will also provide news, analysis and commentary throughout the women’s tournament, from Selection Monday through the Women’s Final Four in Nashville, Tenn. Columnists will provide live coverage of each round of games from coast to coast, with regular video highlights of the matchups. Other plans include contributions from ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo, the continued coverage of five top players in ESPN’s Need to Know initiative, stats, analysis and stories on other players to watch. Tourney Snapshots, which includes team- and fan-submitted social media photos and video with behind-the-scenes access to teams, players and coaches, will return for the second consecutive season.  The staff at espnW.com and a handful of WNBA players will also face off in a Women’s Tournament Challenge group.

ESPN Mobile will also carry complete coverage from writers and analysts, keeping fans up to date on the latest news and highlights on mobile devices via a special section on the ESPN mobile Web.  Additionally, fans can keep track of their brackets while on the go with the free-to-download ESPN Tournament Challenge app is now available in the App Store and Google Play.  The app features full access to brackets with personalized “My Bracket” and “Live Bracket” sections displaying scores and schedules during the tournament.  Fans can also sign up for ESPN Alerts to receive real-time information on the game (scores, starts, etc.), breaking news, upsets and more.

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Kristie Adler

Kristie is Director of Communications for ESPN's Digital, Distribution, Strategy, Business Development, Sales, Marketing and Research divisions. She graduated from Penn State University and is based in New York City.
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