NCAA Basketball Tournaments Surge in Popularity, Draw More Bets Than Super Bowl 58

Nearly four times the number of wagers placed on Super Bowl 58 were placed on the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments at BetMGM.

Apr 11, 2024 • 10:12 ET • 4 min read
Caitlin Clark NCAAW Iowa
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments were a massive draw for sports bettors in 2024. 

The women's championship game, in particular, broke betting handle records at several sportsbooks, including BetMGM.

“The 2024 NCAA women’s championship broke BetMGM’s record for the most bet women’s sporting event of all time, capping off a special tournament for the game and for the sportsbook," said BetMGM trading manager Seamus Magee. "Caitlin Clark and Iowa generated an unbelievable amount of interest which translated into this being the most bet NCAA Women’s Tournament in BetMGM history.”

The numbers don’t lie. Nearly four times the number of wagers placed on Super Bowl 58 were placed on the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments during 2024 March Madness at BetMGM. There was also a 29% increase in women betting on the NCAA women’s tournament year over year.

One for the record books

It was a record-setting year for women’s college basketball in particular. The betting handle, or amount wagered, during the National Championship game between Iowa vs. South Carolina, was up 155% compared to the 2023 women’s National Championship game featuring LSU and Iowa. 

The last three games Iowa played in were the most bet women’s sporting events ever recorded. Clark, the Hawkeyes’ star guard, dazzled with her elite 3-point shooting ability, which is why her player props were the most bet tickets in either NCAA tournament this season.

In fact, Clark garnered 80% more bets than Purdue’s Zach Edey and 380% more than NC State’s DJ Burns Jr. These two were the two most popular players in the men’s college basketball player props market at BetMGM, which shows how much Clark’s skillset on both ends of the court captivated audiences during her career at Iowa. 

WNBA ripple effect

Clark’s on a clear path to be drafted as the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft this upcoming Monday by the Indiana Fever. The Fever also had the No. 1 pick in 2023, opting to take forward Aliyah Boston out of South Carolina, but it’s clearly a different paradigm with Clark available on the draft board.

Already, we’re seeing the ripple effects of Clark’s presumed arrival with the Fever. The team’s X account revealed that 36 games will be nationally televised in 2024. It’s not just the Fever who are benefitting from Clark’s arrival in the WNBA. The Las Vegas Aces announced a venue change for their July 2 game against Indiana, relocating to T-Mobile Arena which holds a larger capacity. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Mercury posted a graphic featuring their marquee veteran, Diana Taurasi against Clark, who is labeled as “The Rook” against “The GOAT,” Taurasi. 

Clark’s fans and critics are creating a tidal wave of attention that will boost WNBA viewership, ticket sales, and undoubtedly wagers placed on WNBA betting markets in 2024 and beyond.

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