Here it is May and College Basketball is still relevant for true fans. With recruiting cycles lasting longer and longer you really can’t blink without missing something – be it a coaching change, a commitment, de-commitment or something relevant to your team. For us Duke fans, just like those of Kentucky, UNC and others we are basically on commitment watch until what feels like the fall. From Lance Thomas a few years back, Marques Bolden just a year or so ago and this year with Kevin Knox, Trevon Duval and others the recruiting cycle goes on and on for sure.
It seems like for the rest of the world and nationally the interest really doesn’t get going until after Christmas leading into the biggest time of the year March. NCAA Basketball like most enterprises is a brand and like other brands are always looking for ways to maximize exposure and ramp up interest – especially in months where there are games but those games aren’t registering in revenue and ratings. The NCAA makes around $900 million from March Madness which is 90% of its total revenue per year.
Similar to when other sports like MLB, NHL and the NBA have their All-Star games to increase fan interest and hype why not college basketball? Maybe not in the same way but perhaps there are other methods. One of the most realistic ways to increase college basketball hype would be mid-season tournaments to replace mid-season challenges. We have pre-season tournaments and obviously post-season tourneys why not try something different? Not to say that the ACC/Big10 and other challenges aren’t interesting but what could be more compelling than a tournament? It could benefit teams as well as the brand as a whole. For teams, nothing replaces the drama of being in a tournament environment, breaking up the monotony and challenging your team could truly give coaches a barometer for where they stand going into the post season. For the sport as a whole, drama and intrigue create interest and excitement – that leads to opportunity.
Please add your ideas in the comments section below, do you think College Basketball could benefit from this or other ideas?