How does a huge, month-long televised sports tournament affect your revenue?

We’re interested in the affect of March Madness – one of the great annual sporting events in the US – on our industry. It’s a single elimination college basketball tournament held in March each year. 64 teams play 63 games that last an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes for 110 hours of viewing…excluding pre- and post-game analysis and reporting. It’s estimated that the tournament costs US industry $1.9 billion in lost productivity.

What does it do to your US business? To our industry’s US business? Potential customers are tempted to watch the tournament instead of shopping for your products. We wanted to know the how it affects your traffic and sales. It seems like it would hurt sales and revenue. Does it? By how much?

We looked back three years at data from February, March and April of each year. We wanted to use the data to forecast the impact on your business in March, 2016. Next month we’ll see if our forecast is accurate.

The Results

March Madness 2015 visits and sales were down by about 10%. That supports our hypothesis that March Madness affects sales negatively. Let’s check the year before to see if there is a pattern.

March Madness 2014 again brought drops in revenue in the 10% range. Another data point supporting our hypothesis.

March Madness 2013 also showed approximately 10% lower conversion rates. There’s clearly a trend supporting the hypothesis that March Madness leads to lower sales.

Our Prediction

Based on the last three years of data we predict lower conversions and revenue in the range of 10% for March compared with the months before and after. What are you seeing in your data?

Will our forecast accurately predict conversions and revenue? We’ll update this post with data from 2016 next month. Stay tuned!


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