Are you a real fan? #ProveItCoke Zero is calling real fans of NCAA® March Madness®.
Use #ProveIt to show us how you're a real fan.
The True Blue fans of Kentucky Proved it!
What’s better than watching ESPN’s College Gameday on your couch? Um. I don’t know, how about watching it from an elevated perch mere feet from the broadcast booth?
It’s Coke Zero Section Zero, and it’s a better option for getting some coveted camera time than that moldy tiger costume you found in the fraternity basement.
If we happen to be coming to your campus, there a few ways you can gain access to the best seats at ESPN’s College GameDay. For starters, you can earn your spot by competing at the Coke Zero Combine on Thursday and Friday. Otherwise, try and find a Coke Zero rep in and around Section Zero on Saturday morning. If you seem rowdy enough, they just might let you in. But remember, seats in Coke Zero Section Zero are not guaranteed, so make sure you find that permission slip, get an early start on that body paint and come ready to enjoy everything at College GameDay.
Kevin W. Ryan; Bleacher Report
2012 Brand Value: $95,000,000
The fusing of hundreds of thousands of race fans and excessive advertising campaigns make up the complexion of what we now know as NASCAR, however the nearly hundred-million dollar machine was inadvertently founded during the Prohibition Era when only the fastest bootleg drivers were able to evade oncoming police. Once a Mecca for land speed records, Daytona Beach, Florida now serves as a back-seat driver to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah – however Daytona is now the current home of one of the most popular professional race sights in the world. Since the golden age of counterculture, competitors, celebrities, spectators and some of the world’s most seasoned tailgaters annually descend upon Daytona International Speedway to witness 200 laps of the most elite automotive racing in the world. The culture of NASCAR differs from traditional professional American athletics to the near polar level, perhaps because of the natural uniqueness of the sport. This subsequent culture cannot be compared to or emulated in any way but rather experienced in the form of revving engines, excessive beer drinking, or a Ghost Face Killah soundtrack. The 2013 Daytona 500 featured a five-year record in ratings after Danica Patrick became the sport’s first female pole position winner. Rapper 50 Cent getting an impromptu rejection from famed anchor Erin Andrews was just an added bonus.
FIFA Copa de Mundial
2012 Brand Value: $147,000,000
The FIFA World Cup creates a positive atmosphere where it is socially acceptable to express your patriotism in literally any way imaginable. Pubs across the world fill for arguably the most popular sporting event in the world. In America, soccer does not resonate on equal levels of other professional sports like baseball, basketball or football – however once the United States begins the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, American flag bandanas and face paint flood every sports bar in the country. World Cup qualifying begins with regional play a little over one year before the tournament starts, with the top 32 countries advancing to compete on the world’s largest stage. The only team that does not have to qualify for the World Cup is the host country. The 2014 World Cup is set to play in Brazil, however due to the economic responsibility of hosting a World Cup, FIFA has already selected Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup’s (respectively). The FIFA World Cup is not simply a representation of a nation’s farm of soccer talent but rather pride of one’s homeland expressed through 90-plus minutes of singing, chanting, vuvuleza-ing and the special sense of participating in a global phenomenon.
2012 Brand Value: $470,000,000
The National Football League is set to haul in north of $7 billion in annual revenue through 2022 thanks to selling 98 percent of available tickets and broadcasting 31 of the most-watched television shows during fall of 2012. Whether the annual celebration of American football is remembered by a heroic performance like “Breesus Christ” in 2009 or a creative breakthrough in advertising like Budweiser’s “frogs” in 1995, Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial national holiday that will seemingly never dissolve. The mass consumption of food and beverage coupled with the gathering of families and friends creates an unmatched experience surrounding a professional sporting event. The only probable changes to the sporting world’s most celebrated event include eliminating the trend of bringing a hangover to work the next day, and the Roman numerals used to mark the advancement in the league’s history books.
2012 Brand Value: $127,000,000
There is no better feeling as a sports fan than filling out a bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament and thinking, “Man, I don’t even know what State this school is in…” The run-of-the-mill hoop fans learned of college campuses like Davidson, VCU, Butler or Xavier thanks to their Cinderella-like wins in recent tournament play. During the qualitative rise in “madness” during the NCAA basketball tournament, players would stay in school for a three or four-year career – superstars like Georgetown’s dominant Patrick Ewing, St. John’s sharpshooting Chris Mullin, or the talented Tar Heel tandem of James Worthy and Michael Jordan. Now, the value of a free college education in exchange for remaining at the Division I level is barely enough to keep budding stars in school for their freshman year. The beauty of “March Madness” is the street fight-esque rhythm of each game – two teams show up where the victor is determined by the team with the most heart, spirit and pride rather than talent. In the words of the late Jimmy Valvano, “survive and advance, one game at a time”. “March Madness” was forever changed when the tradition of filling out a bracket was introduced to hoop fans worldwide. Now, men, women and children of all ages can enter in “bracket challenges” with an equal opportunity of winning simply because it is so hard to actually predict the winners of each game.
2012 Brand Value: $130,000,000
Baseball’s biggest stage is the MLB World Series – conveniently played annually in the United States. Major League Baseball is comprised of 30 teams from two different leagues, with the winner of each league advancing to play in the World Series. The National League usually offers solid pitching and defense compared to the offensively dominated American League where a manager substitutes a “designated hitter” for their pitcher’s spot in the batting order. The World Series is a best-of-seven-game series with home field advantage awarded to the league that wins the All-Star Game earlier that season. Baseball’s “golden age” will merit a different response from just about anyone you ask. Past generations tell tales of Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the “Miracle Mets” of 1969 or the once prolific and profoundly funky Pittsburgh Pirates of the 1970’s. Today, baseball fans pass on Luis Gonzalez’s “Texas League” single to win game 7 of the 2001 World Series, or the heroic performance of Pablo Sandoval’s three-homerun night against Detroit ace Justin Verlander.
The NBA Finals is a showcase of team basketball at the highest level, however unlike NCAA March Madness, the Finals hosts 16 of the NBA’s top teams in a seven-game series bracket. With the exception of the 2011-12 NBA season (due to a player lockout), the NBA hosts an 82-game regular season to decide the seeding for the playoffs – however unnecessary it may seem given the obvious inequality between the league’s teams. For example, it took the reigning Champion Miami heat just 43 days to win 22 games whereas the Charlotte Bobcats needed an astounding 705 days to accomplish the same feat. Cinderella-like upsets are few and far between in the NBA Playoffs; the most vivid recent memory being the No. 8 seed “We Believe” Warriors of 2007 – a Baron Davis-led squad that upset the No. 1 ranked Dallas Mavericks in six games before. Once the top teams dominate their respective conferences, the East Champion squares off against the West winner in a grueling seven-game series for the NBA crown. The NBA saw a massive boost in popularity once Magic Johnson’s “Showtime” Lakers and Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics became a regular meeting in the NBA Finals. Following the Bird and Magic-dominated era, NBA fans were exposed to Championship squads like the “Bad Boy Pistons”, Houston’s Hakeem “The Dream” and, of course, Michael Jordan’s six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. The NBA Finals represents the final act of the Broadway-esque play known as the National Basketball Association – a demonstration of talent that is sure to attract stars and celebrities of all walks of life, no matter how bored they might get.
Stanley Cup Finals
Lord Stanley is the God of hockey and thanks to his generous son, the “Stanley Cup” trophy has been passed on to the hockey’s most dominant playoff team since the late 1800’s. The National Hockey League is the only major professional sports league that passes the same trophy around to each Champion – awarding each member of the Championship squad one “day with the Cup”. Hockey was born of a unique concoction of true grit and sportsmanship, only to be topped off with long-standing tradition unmatched in the world of sport. Like NASCAR, being a hockey fan is about much more than a love for the game – it is a way of life where the ultimate crown is to have your family name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup.
2012 Brand Value: $348,000,000 (summer); $123,000,000 (winter)
The Olympic games, both winter and summer, are the public display of the most pure athletic competition available. With the summer and winter games alternating every two years, competitors substitute national pride and passion for the usual monetary compensation for their competitive efforts. The Olympic games host competition for over 10,000 athletes in nearly 30 different fields of athletic competition. As expected, the United States of America has purely dominated the Olympic games over the past century – showcasing unmatched talent like Jesse Owens in Nazi Germany, Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ profound medal ceremony in 1968, and the 1992 “Dream Team” that revolutionized the game of basketball.
2012 Brand Value: $116,000,000
Welcome to Derbytown: home of blistering heat, fancy hats, and the most extravagant race of ponies in the world. The Kentucky Derby is the first installment of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing held at Churchill Downs (Louisville, KY) with the other two legs being the Preakness Stakes (Baltimore, MD) and Belmont Stakes (Elmont, NY). Once a year dating back to 1875, the Kentucky Derby showcases “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, creating one of the biggest sports betting events on the yearly sports calendar. Over $185 million was wagered (on and off-site) on the 2012 Kentucky Derby. One underrated fact about the Derby is that fans are heavily segregated, with the high-class pampered on Millionaire’s Row while the more “white trash” settle under the sun on the lawn across the racetrack. For a more thorough explanation of Kentucky Derby week in Louisville, ask the late and always great Hunter S. Thompson who referred to the Derby as “A huge outdoor loony bin”.
UEFA Champions League Final
2012 Brand Value: $113,000,000
The Champions League Final is played by the top two teams that survive an exhausting playoff format filled with elite soccer clubs from 52 different countries throughout Europe. The Champions League playoff begins with three knockout-qualifying rounds that sets up another playoff round where the 10 teams that survive enter the group stage. Those ten qualifying teams join the top 22 teams in the group stage to make eight groups of four teams. Eight teams are crowned group winners and enter the final knockout phase to face the eight group runners up, eliminating teams until there are only two remaining. For club soccer, the UEFA Champions League Final is not necessarily the end of the road as the Champions League winner qualifies for both the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
All “Brand Value” figures taken from statista.com
This article was originally written on Bleacher Report
March Madness has taken us to the Final Four. All brackets have been busted and now only the best of the best are still standing. As fans flock to Atlanta to see their teams play, there is no question that some teams feel right at home even at the neutral site location. A supportive and loud group of fans can go a long way in helping a team win thousands of miles away from its campus. So as a tribute to the teams that had the loudest fans in the tourney, here are the top 10 fans bases of March Madness 2013.
No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois has had some very talented teams over the years and that has given its fan base a reason to be loud and proud for quite some time. This season is no different as the Fighting Illini are headed to the Big Dance once again. It will no doubt be a sea of orange in Austin as this group certainly knows how to travel with the best of them. While they may not get the support for the football team, the fans of this university love and support their basketball. Known as the Orange Crush, these fans crack the list at No. 10.
No. 9 Maryland Terrapins
The Maryland Terrapins are one of those teams that just missed out on the tournament, but will get a home game in the NIT. That means their fans will a least have one more game to root on their home team. While that might be good news for the university, it will certainly warrant a few extra police officers just in case a riot breaks out. The best word to use to describe these fans is rowdy, and while they certainly would have helped Maryland no matter where it was playing in the NCAA Tournament, the NIT will have to do at least this year.
No. 8 Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State is another university that features an excellent home court advantage, but similar to Illinois, they travel real well. The student section at home games is known as the “Izzone,” and it fits perfectly. There are few places in the country that are tougher to play, and it takes students three years just to get in the bottom bowl for good seats. When it comes to taking that act on the road for the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans do not miss a beat. Look for a loud and proud run deep into March this season for the Spartans.
No. 7 Syracuse Orange
With the exception of Kentucky, no fan base turns out more than that of the Syracuse Orange. The Carrier Dome is always packed as Syracuse consistently draws well over 20,000 fans for its home games. To say the Syracuse fans travel to road games in droves would be quite an understatement as they come in full force to plenty of neutral site away games. Just look at their record in the Big East Tournament over the years. This year they will be out in full force once again, rooting on a team that has suddenly found its groove at Madison Square Garden.
No. 6 Louisville Cardinals
Louisville is another team that attracts quite a crowd for home games. The Cardinals attendance is nearly as high as that of Kentucky and Syracuse. The Cardinals faithful love to take to the road for tournament games not only in basketball, but also in football as fans turned out big time for the Sugar Bowl in January. This year, Louisville has one of the best teams in the country and will be playing a good portion of the NCAA Tournament close to home. That is certainly good news for Cardinals fans and not so good news for everybody else.
No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks
It is hard to mention the Kansas Jayhawks without a least spending a little time talking about the famous “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” chant. For my money that is the best in all of college sports and is spine-tingling every time. That cheer is not the only thing that helps to set the Kansas fan base above most of the others. The fans of this university have given Kansas one of the best home court advantages in college basketball. Watch closely as the cheer might be heard at some point during the Big Dance.
No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers
Even though the Hoosiers were rebuilding a few years ago, the fan support was still there and that goes a long way. This year they will be one of the favorites to win the national championship and similar to Louisville, they will be playing a lot of their games close to home. Indiana has been waiting 20 years for a team like this and now that it finally has it, expect quite a turnout by the fans of this university at the NCAA Tournament, as the Hoosiers are headed to Dayton. It would be hard to imagine any team traveling with more fans than the Hoosiers in 2013.
No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels
Basketball has always been king at North Carolina, and this year the team has come on strong at the end of the year. The hardcore fans at the ACC Tournament were seen rooting against Duke last week and whether they are rooting against the Blue Devils or for their Tar Heels, they are generally extremely loud. What helps to set North Carolina apart is it seems they have fans all over the country, similar to Notre Dame football. They come out of the woodwork when the team is playing good, but those diehards are always there supporting their Tar Heels no matter what their record is.
No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats
The good news is the Kentucky Wildcats will get another home game at Rupp Arena. The bad news is it will be in the NIT. Historically known to have the loudest and proudest fans, this year the Wildcats will not have the opportunity to defend their national title. Selling out the 23,000 seat facility should not be a problem as the Wildcats do that seemingly every night. The fans can also go to the NCAA Tournament since it is being played very close to home at Rupp Arena. It is a shame that the fan base that travels better than any other in the country will not be able to take part in the NCAA Tournament. Oh well, maybe next year.
No. 1 Duke Blue Devils
Maybe one of the reasons why Duke always has such a huge turnout for tournament games is the fact that they are always playing in their home state of North Carolina. The “Cameron Crazies” are plenty loud at home, but they can also bring the noise on the road. What makes Duke No. 1 is the fact that they will try to get in the heads of opposing players and even have cheer sheets to help them with that. The fans will harp on a certain player from the start of the game until the bitter end, with a relentless passion that is hard to find anywhere else. No question that Duke is at the top of the list for March Madness 2013, even if they have to travel outside of the great state of North Carolina.
This article was originally written on Bleacher Report