New all-time mark blows away last year’s record 13.0 million;
“People’s Bracket” Final Four picks: Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, Villanova;
Most popular tournament bracket game celebrates 20th anniversary.
Boosted by the first ever 24-hour Tournament Challenge Marathon earlier this week, the ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge collected a record 18.8 million completed brackets, surpassing the previous mark set last year at 13.0 million. At the peak period of entries this morning, fans registered 31,184 brackets per minute (520 brackets per second), an increase of 69 percent over last year.
By the end of the Tournament Challenge Marathon, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the most popular tournament bracket game, ESPN collected more than 10 million bracket entries and had its largest one-day total ever with 4.9 million on Wednesday, beating the previous mark of 4.2 million set on Tuesday.
People’s Bracket Results
The Men’s Tournament Challenge “People’s Bracket” – which reflects the percentage of fans picking each match-up throughout the tournament – shows that more people picked Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, and Villanova to reach the Final Four than any other teams. North Carolina and Villanova are picked to reach the national championship game in a rematch of last year’s final, and North Carolina is the most popular pick to win the title.
An analysis of People’s Bracket picks for the Round of 64 finds:
- 96.83 percent of brackets choseVillanova over Mount Saint Mary’s, the largest of any matchup in any round
- No. 10 Wichita State over No. 7 Dayton is the most picked upset (65.33 percent vs. 34.67 percent)
- The closest matchup was No. 8Northwestern No. 9 Vanderbilt (50.01 percent vs. 49.99 percent)
Potential “Cinderella” Stories (lower-seeded teams picked to make the Sweet 16):
- No. 10 Wichita State (13.82 percent)
- No. 11 Xavier (15.27 percent)
- No. 11 Rhode Island (10.91 percent)
- No. 12 Middle Tennessee State (14.56 percent)
About ESPN Tournament Challenge
In its 20th year, the ESPN’s Tournament Challenge game is free and allows fans to submit up to 25 entries each for the Men’s and Women’s tournament at ESPN.com/bracket or on the ESPN Tournament Challenge App for iOS and Android.
At the end of the tournaments, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries finishing in the top 1 percent will be entered in a random drawing to win a trip for two to the 2017 Maui Invitational and a $10,000 Amazon Gift Card prize. In the Women’s Tournament Challenge, entries finishing in the top 1 percent will be entered in a random drawing for a $3,000 Amazon Gift Card. New to the Men’s Tournament Challenge this year, ESPN will award an ESPYS Grand Prize Package to the winner of a random drawing from among entries finishing in the top 1 percent of the five largest Celebrity Groups. The prize includes tickets and travel to Los Angeles for the 2017 ESPYS in July.
While the Men’s Tournament Challenge game is now closed to new entries, the Women’s Tournament Challenge will accept brackets until just prior to tip-off of the first game on Friday, March 17, at about 12:00 p.m. ET.
New features in the ESPN Tournament Challenge App include an all-new News tab, advanced Bracketcast design and functionality, better ESPN Insider integrations, and improved push notifications for up-to-the-second bracket, news and video updates. Prior to the start of the Round of 64 today, the app also included the ability to pre-fill brackets before selection Sunday and Group enhancements to make play with friends and family easier.