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Which college basketball teams have the biggest fan bases?


College basketball has a rich history here in the US, and there are plenty of examples of teams that have become famous and well-loved by college kids. The root of many modern-day college basketball phenomena is easy to see – but in the modern era, however, college basketball fan bases just appear to be getting larger and larger – meaning you’ll have lots of choice when it comes to your March Madness bracket fill out online!


The rise of technology and the opportunities it offers for widespread match viewing have played a role – as, of course, has the relative democratization of access to higher education and hence a larger college population. But which teams have benefitted the most from these changing trends – and what sort of fan base figures do they boast?


North Carolina Tar Heels

There are all sorts of different ways to measure the popularity of college basketball teams, and the title of “most popular team” can vary significantly from one metric to the next. But a surefire way to measure it is to look at the value in financial terms. After all, despite the fact that this is college-level, it’s also big business!


According to Forbes, the North Carolina Tar Heels are one of the most profitable teams out there. By one recent calculation, the value of this side is around $29.6 million US dollars – and that the level of basketball profit in this calculation is $1

7.9 million. Figures like that are not possible without the sort of large fan bases which offer an endless stream of viewing figures, content consumption and merchandising purchases!


Louisville Cardinals

Continuing with the measuring system espoused by Forbes, another highly profitable team in this regard is the Louisville Cardinals. In fact, they’re number one on the list – with a value of $36.1 million US dollars at the time of the calculation. At that time they also experienced a phenomenal two-year change in value of 39%, and a high level of profit as well. It’s probable that they will continue to remain near the top by this metric, especially given that they currently enjoy a lot of momentum.


Kentucky Wildcats

One of the boons of following basketball in the modern age is that it’s now possible to use lots of different metrics to work out popularity – and one of them is of course social media. Judging by that metric, the Kentucky Wildcats are a prime example of a popular team! The team, which is on social networking site Twitter as “Kentucky Basketball” or @KentuckyMBB, has sent 36,100 tweets or so over the course of its time online. It has a huge number of followers, too: 796,800 people follow the account, and regularly join in with the online conversation.


Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks, who are on Twitter under the handle “@KUHoops”, are even more popular. They are approaching one million followers and have a very active presence. Their social media output is dynamic and different and includes everything from slow motion replays of amazing moments from past games to links to interesting articles. It’s this sort of content which keeps its hundreds of thousands of followers engaged, and which also helps to make this team one of the most popular in the college basketball community by far.


Duke Blue Devils

Finally, the Duke Blue Devils university side is well known for its impressive website which is full to the brim of news articles about the team. The basketball section of the Duke sports site is updated almost every day, and exact details of matches are listed. Without a devoted fan base, this sort of online content operation would be highly unlikely to exist – let alone remain sustained and updated on a daily basis.

With college basketball even more popular than ever as a sport, then, it makes sense that there are some teams which have surged ahead relative to others. From the example of the North Carolina Tar Heels to the case of the Louisville Cardinals, many modern college basketball teams have deservedly huge fan bases – and that doesn’t appear likely to change any time soon. Largely, these changes have come about thanks to the Internet. With social media and basketball news websites now so popular, it’s possible for college teams to use online content to expand their fan bases and to retain in place the fans who are already there.