March is a great time of year for college basketball enthusiasts. The annual NCAA tournament March Madness is a 68-team single-elimination tournament to select the champion of college basketball.
According to Adweek, Twitter has a courtside seat this year. Throughout the regular season, people have been hyping their chosen team all over Twitter. The most talked about teams on Twitter this cycle have been Duke, North Carolina and University of Kansas.
One team that has taken PR advantage of Twitter during the tournament is University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). In an article on the Washington Post website, the UMBC basketball team is referenced as the “social media Cinderellas.”
UMBC is a 16-seed team that beat University of Virginia (UVA), a number one seed, in the first round of the tournament. This made college basketball history, as well as one very funny and simple tweet.
ESPN had predicted UMBC had a 1.5 percent chance of winning the game against UVA. The simple “Sup, @ESPN” caused a Twitter frenzy. UMBC Athletics Twitter account had a total of 5,400 followers at the beginning of the tournament. They now have 106,000 followers. Is this increase because of their big win or their viral tweet? Or a combination of both?
This is a good example of why the tournament is called March Madness — crazy and unpredictable outcomes of the singular basketball games. UMBC took advantage of their win and did a good job of positioning themselves on Twitter to create a larger following and a larger name for themselves. I think it was a combination of their history-making win and extending the momentum with a humorous and popular tweet.