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January Madness: How the New NCAA Playoffs Will Boost Social Media Impact

Social media trackers and businesses looking to capitalize on sports and entertainment opportunities have one thing to rejoice in the new year: the elimination of ‘bids’  in the 2014 NCAA football season.

Starting next year, college football’s champion will be determined for the first time by a four-team playoff. However, this long-awaited move will not only overhaul the NCAA’s current (and often lamented) Bowl system. It will also completely change the impact that social media has on teams, fans, and even marketing and advertising opportunities.

How, you might ask? To give some perspective, let’s compare the upcoming college football playoffs to another nationally-beloved championship system—March Madness. Because college basketball already utilizes a playoff system based purely on performance, rather than a bid selection committee, standings are easier to for fans to follow and discuss on a national level. The result of each March’s social media chatter explosion, is that companies have reportedly increased their ad spending on March Madness by 64% over the past two years.

For NCAA football, all signs point to businesses and individuals gaining the same opportunities over social media. According to a poll from Discover, around half of all college football fans show their love for their team on social media sites. But until now, even around the January Bowl Season, college football conversations have never reached the volume and frenzied activity of March Madness social content. The first NCAA football playoff tournament in 2014 is likely to change all that, as anticipation over winners and ‘knockouts’ will fuel a more unified, competitive, and national interest.

What this means in a nutshell: the new playoff system will provide fans with an easier way to follow the winners and runners up of the NCAA football conference. And when fans are all talking about the same games (as opposed to various Bowls and conference titles) businesses and marketing professionals will have more opportunities to align themselves to the most influential conversations.

While the Sports and Entertainment industry has regularly dominated social conversation in the past, college football will soon become a well of opportunities to reach younger and alumni audiences.

Our advice to you, is to start strategizing your social approach now. August will be here sooner than you think.

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