If you are watching any TV right now, you know that we are at the time of year when March Madness takes over the sports world. Even if you are not a college basketball fan, I am sure you have heard of this event…you may have even lost a spouse to a ‘road trip’ or to them being camped out in front of the TV during this three-week event.
What the NCAA has accomplished is pure genius. They are teaching the hospitality industry the following event experience lessons:
Create a top notch event – they have established a three-week long, 68 team men’s college basketball tournament.
Brand it – March Madness
Market it – The Road To The Final Four
Draw people to attend (in this case into multiple venues simultaneously) – they attract 10,000 to 70,000 attendees (an average of 20,000) in over 10 different venues for a total of more than 700,000 attendees.
Make it a Hybrid Event – for years they have been doing what we are now recognizing as an emerging trend, the combination of face-to-face and virtual events.
Generate substantial economic impact – for each market where these games are held, jobs are created and millions of dollars go into the local economy and to the universities playing in the games.
Create a memorable experience that goes viral – attendees literally RAVE about the event which creates high expectations and demand for the next year’s event.
Enable the growth of spin-off events – The Women’s Final Four (the women’s college basketball tournament) is now a growing event based on the success of the men’s tournament.
I do not know about you, but these are exactly the type of events, experiences and results we strive to create in the hospitality industry. I think we should all tune in March 13th – April 2nd to take notes and learn some lessons from the NCAA. March Madness is a consistently successful annual event that has all of us on The Road To The Final Four!