March Madness on YouTube: Where, When and What Viewers are Watching

March Madness is heading into the Final Four this weekend, buzzer beaters abound, and interest in the tournament is spiking from fans and viewers across the country. Zefr has compiled the first ever data-driven list of the top March Madness buzzer beaters based on views and uploads, along with some insights into what viewers are watching – and when – around March Madness content on YouTube.

The way people watch live sports tournaments is going digital. More and more, fans are tuning in not for full games but for the big plays and highlights that are most exciting. 2016’s March Madness final saw the lowest viewership in 18 years as the game switched to a cable-only broadcast. Viewers are cutting the cord, but they’re not giving up on March Madness content. Instead, they’re watching it via social video, across digital platforms. We looked into all the March Madness content on YouTube and came up with the following insights, also in an infographic below:

  • In addition to the 3.4 million live streams of last year’s final, Zefr found 167 million views on March Madness related videos in total on the social video platform.
  • Views and uploads spike 551% during first weekend of the tournament, when all 64 teams are have a shot and fans are still invested. Interest rebounds (but not as high) for the Final Four and through the championship.
  • Basketball fans tune in not for the full games, for the big plays – 45% of both views and uploads were on highlights and clips from past games.
  • Our top buzzer beater – from Villanova’s Kris Jenkins, occurred just last year but saw more viewership than any other, indicating that digital appetites are high – and only increasing.