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The Caitlin Clark Effect: Boosts Betting on March Madness Women’s Games by 540% 

Optimove Insights’ analysis based on more than 19 million bets during the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament also revealed women’s games had more TV viewers, men’s games received more bets 

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Why it Matters:

The Caitlin Clark Effect, as revealed by Optimove Insights’ analysis of the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament, shows a significant 540% average increase in bets on games featuring standout player Caitlin Clark. This underscores the profound influence of star players on betting behavior and emphasizes the need for marketers to leverage individual player impact to optimize engagement strategies. 

The Big Picture:
  • Star players like Caitlin Clark can drive a significant increase in economic activity, as seen with a 540% spike in bets on games featuring her during the NCAA March Madness tournament. 
  • Women’s games attract more TV viewers, but men’s games garner more bets. 
  • Despite a lower percentage increase in bets over the tournament, men’s March Madness games consistently significantly attract more bettors than women’s games throughout the tournament.   

Games featuring Caitlin Clark in the final stages of March Madness saw an average of 540% increase in bets compared to the baseline, revealing the significant impact of standout player Caitlin Clark on betting behavior in women’s games.  

The research by Optimove Insights, the analytical and research arm of Optimove, examined more than 19 million bets placed on the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament between March 29 and April 9, encompassing both men’s and women’s games. 

The focus of this analysis was to track the betting trends surrounding games featuring Caitlin Clark, a prominent player in women’s college basketball, and the first pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft.  

The Caitlin Clark Effect: 5.4x more bets 

Fortune Magazine estimated in 1998 that Michael Jordan had a $10 billion impact on the U.S. economy, a phenomenon coined as “The Jordan Effect.” This calculation projected Jordan’s significant influence across various economic sectors. Caitlin Clark, the biggest WNBA prospect in recent history, is showing early signs of “The Caitlin Clark Effect” without taking one shot in the Indiana Fever uniform. 

Optimove Insights tracked the betting activity on women’s NCAA games from the Elite Eight stage through to the Championship game. The comparative baseline game, Oregon State vs. South Carolina, set at 100%, received the fewest bets among the games tracked.  
The data revealed the impact of Caitlin Clark on betting activity, with games featuring her, witnessing an average 540% increase in bets compared to the baseline. This suggests a significant influence of individual players on the betting landscape, emphasizing the role of star power in driving fan engagement and betting interest.  

Championship Game: Men’s Get More Bets, Women’s Get More Viewers

The Women’s Championship game had an average of 18.7 million TV viewers compared to the men’s game at 14.8 million viewers, yet the men’s game attracted more than 3X the number of bets. This disparity underscores potential differences in viewer engagement versus betting activity between the two tournaments.  

To read the full report, go here

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About Optimove Insights  

Optimove Insights is the analytical and research arm of Optimove, dedicated to providing valuable industry insights and data-driven research to empower B2C businesses.  

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Rob Wyse

Rob Wyse is Senior Director of Communications at Optimove. As a communications consultant, he has been influential in changing public opinion and policy to drive market opportunity. Example issues he has worked on include climate change, healthcare reform, homeland security, cloud transformation, AI, and other timely issues.