College Sports (NCAA) - Statistics & Facts

College athletics is popular in the United States. According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, around 47 percent of the U.S. Americans follow college sports. Almost 31 million have attended a college sports event in 2016. The most popular sports amongst spectators include men’s college football and men’s college basketball.


The main governing body of college sports in the United States is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA is a nonprofit organization responsible for organizing the athletic programs of the majority of universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. The NCAA generates most of its revenue from television and marketing rights fees. In its 2016 financial year the NCAA generated 740 million U.S. dollars in revenue from television and marketing rights fees.

Men’s college basketball trails only football in popularity. According to Scarborough Research 24.65 million people in the U.S. are "very interested" in college basketball, 53.95 million have watched a college basketball game on broadcast TV at least once in 2016.
The attention paid to the sport heightens each year with the start of the college basketball tournament – often referred to as March Madness. The championship game in 2016 for example had a TV viewership of 15.8 million. Almost half of the population in the United States is at least somewhat interested in college basketball according to a 2017 Statista survey. The same survey also revealed that about the same amount of people will watch at least some tournament games .

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NCAA college sports - Important statistics

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