Caitlin Clark’s March Madness Stirs 540% Surge in Betting Activity

Home » Caitlin Clark’s March Madness Stirs 540% Surge in Betting Activity

The fervor surrounding Caitlin Clark during March Madness has reverberated across the United States, with Optimove providing statistical evidence of the phenomenon. According to analysis conducted by Optimove Insights, betting activity surged by an astounding 540% on average during games featuring the standout player from the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Clark made headlines during March Madness by breaking the NCAA’s all-time points scoring record for men’s and women’s college basketball. Her stellar performance, culminating in being selected first by the Indiana Fever in the WNBA Draft, underscored her status as a generational talent. Throughout her illustrious four-year college career, Clark maintained an impressive average of 28.4 points, 8.2 assists, and 7.1 rebounds.

Optimove emphasizes that these findings underscore the significant influence star players wield over betting trends and consumer behavior. Rony Vexelman, Vice President of Marketing at Optimove, remarked: “The substantial boost in overall interest in women’s basketball catalyzed by Caitlin Clark is extraordinary. Her influence on boosting betting, TV viewership and more is already starting to drive a new women’s basketball economy in the trillions.”

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“The Caitlin Clark Effect”

Optimove has coined the term the “Caitlin Clark effect” to encapsulate the impact the star player had on the tournament. This phenomenon draws parallels to “The Jordan Effect”, coined in 1998 by Fortune Magazine to quantify Michael Jordan’s profound impact on the United States economy.

The analysis performed by Optimove Insights, the analytical and research arm of customer-led marketing platform Optimove, focused on games from the elite eight stage of the women’s tournament onwards, comparing the volume of betting activity to a baseline game featuring Oregon State vs South Carolina, which attracted the fewest bets among the tracked games.

Betting surged by an average of 195% on games not featuring Clark, significantly lower than the remarkable 540% increase observed when she was on the court, according to SBC Americas, citing Optimove Insights. The pinnacle of betting activity occurred during the tournament’s championship game, witnessing a staggering 620% increase over the baseline when Clark’s Iowa faced off against South Carolina.

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Men’s vs. Women’s Betting Trends

Optimove also examined betting activity during the men’s March Madness tournament, where betting volume peaked at 139% compared to the baseline game. The company attributes this smaller increase to the higher volume of individual bettors participating in men’s games compared to women’s games.

Despite the surge in betting on Iowa games, women’s contests during March Madness attracted fewer bets compared to their male counterparts. For instance, Iowa’s Final Four victory over Connecticut garnered only 37% of the number of bets compared to the men’s Final Four average.

However, women’s basketball achieved a notable triumph in viewership numbers, with the women’s national championship game attracting more viewers than its male equivalent. The game drew an average of 18.7 million viewers, surpassing the men’s finale, which garnered 14.8 million viewers.

March Madness Spurs Wagering Boom

The excitement of March Madness extended beyond the courts, fueling robust wagering figures in states like New York and North Carolina.

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The New York State Gaming Commission reported a staggering $539.6 million online sports wagering handle for the week ending March 24, the second-highest weekly handle in state history, attributed to the tournament’s first week.

Similarly, March Madness catalyzed a strong start to online sports betting in North Carolina. Geolocation solution provider GeoComply reported a 46% week-over-week increase in online sports betting activity in the state on the tournament’s first day, accompanied by a 46% uptick in unique active accounts across the state.

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