NCAA Men’s Basketball Brings March Madness to c21

Ticket sales don’t rely solely on advertising, box offices, flyers and traditional grassroots efforts anymore.  Social media has made it easy to virally spread the word about events, and smart marketers are taking advantage.  In fact, a recent article discusses how tweets can predict box office winners.  Twitter is fast becoming an easy and cost effective way to promote events.

In March, NCAA Men’s Basketball hired c21 to help drive ticket sales to some of the Final Four’s first and second rounds and regional tournament games in Houston, San Jose, St. Louis and Syracuse.  Our solution included the use of Twitter, as well as Google and Facebook pay-per-click advertising.  Without an official Twitter site, and only a week before games started in San Jose, we set up Twitter accounts – one for each host city – and identified key people to follow in those markets.  Tweets with links to content on CBSSports.com, NCAA.com and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Facebook page, as well as real time Selection Sunday and game updates, were interspersed with links to the ticket sale site where followers could purchase tickets for the games in their cities.  This combination of educational and promotional tweets ensured that followers would find timely, relevant information while also being reminded that the time to purchase tickets was running out.

We rounded out the social media strategy with paid search that drove to the city-specific ticket sites.  Since ticket scalpers and brokers were active in the pay-per-click space, it was important that the NCAA’s official ticketing site be easy for searchers to find.  Using the NCAA’s demographics, we targeted the ads to the niche markets most likely to buy tickets.  Once the teams became finalized, we also expanded our outreach.

Now that March Madness is over (congrats to everyone whose bracket had Duke taking the title!), the ads have come down, and we asked our Twitter followers to become fans of the Men’s Basketball Facebook page so they can keep up with news.  We don’t have the final sales numbers yet, but keep an eye out for a case study with all the results.

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