March Madness: Only One-Fifth of Americans in Tournament Pools, But 73 Percent Play for Money

Gender Gap: Men Twice as Likely to Fill Out Brackets as Women

Article ID: 615727

Released: 27-Mar-2014 1:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Dick Jones Communications

  • Share

Newswise — SAINT LEO, FL – If you’re going to fill out a bracket, you might as well play for money. That’s what most Americans think, according to a new poll out from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Forty-one percent of Americans say they are very (20 percent) or somewhat (21 percent) interested in following the NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness. Forty-four percent report they are “not at all” interested in the tournament.

“The participant’s pairings and game venues can play a role in people’s interest,” said Dr. Eric Schwarz, professor of sport business at Saint Leo University. “If your team is in it, you are more likely to watch the games and follow the tournament,” he said.

One fifth of Americans reported participating in contests or betting pools about the tournament. Men (27 percent) are more than twice as likely to do so as women (12 percent). Nearly three- quarters of those (73 percent) report they are playing for money.

“I was very surprised at how few people participate in pools,” remarked Dr. Schwarz. “Some of that may be attributed to them not wanting to admit they are in a pool because it’s ‘gambling.’ Others may not consider submitting a bracket for a free online contest as a pool. They think of a pool as playing for money,” he stated.

Here are some direct excerpts from the survey and the results:Question: Thinking about the NCAA basketball tournament also known as March Madness…How interested are you in following the NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness?

PercentagesLevel of InterestMenWomen
20Very interested2812
21 Somewhat interested2717
11 Somewhat uninterested1211
44Not at all interested3156
3Not sure / don’t know25

Question: Still thinking about the NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness, are you participating in any contest or betting pool about the tournament with friends or co-workers in which you fill out brackets and pick teams you think will win games in the tournament?

73No67 80
7Not sure / don’t know68

Question: Asked only of people who responded yes to the previous question (reducing the number of respondents to 193). Does the winner of the March Madness contest or betting pool that you are participating in win money, that is, are you playing for money?

24No24 24
4Not sure / don’t know43

Question: This year, have you watched at least some of the NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness while you are at work and on the clock?

PercentagesViewing Level
8Yes, often
14Yes, sometimes
51No, never
25No, because I am retired, unemployed, or do not work outside the home
3Not sure / don’t know

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

The data is derived from a national poll of 1,009 people conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute between March 16 and 18, 2014. The margin of error is approximately three percent +/- with a 95 percent confidence level.

To view the Florida political and policy results, including methodology, visit the polling institute’s website, You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls. Saint Leo’s main website is

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. Sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantages of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive – usually 50 cents deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account – for their participation. The institute’s executive director is Dr. Andrew (Drew) Gold, associate professor of management at Saint Leo University.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Over its 125-year history, Saint Leo has provided access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. Today the university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from all 50 states and more than 60 nations. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Media Contacts: Kim Payne, staff writer and media coordinator, at kim.payne@saintleo.eduor (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.


Chat now!