2.3 Million Total Votes Cast as Tar Heel Fan Base Earns Title of Best Hoops Fans in the Nation, Trophy and Billboard
LOS ANGELES – Today, FOX Sports announced the University of North Carolina has won the 68-team “Ultimate Fan Bracket: College Basketball Edition” as the Tar Heels dramatically defeated BYU at the buzzer in the National Championship matchup on Twitter at @CBBONFOX #FOXFanVote to determine which school has the best college basketball fans in the land.
In addition to the title, North Carolina earns an exclusive FOX Sports trophy and a celebratory billboard in the territory of their rival team’s campus, presumably in Durham near Duke University.
The #1 seed Tar Heels beat #10 BYU in the National Championship that went down to the wire – generating nearly 120,000 votes – after defeating #3 Michigan, #6 Purdue, #13 Murray State, #8 North Carolina State and #16 Robert Morris along the way.
“North Carolina’s last second victory over BYU in our National Championship is a fitting culmination of the extraordinary passion and engagement on display throughout our Ultimate Fan Bracket,” said David Katz, Executive Vice President & Head of Digital, FOX Sports. “We congratulate Tar Heel and Cougar fans around the world and thank all college basketball supporters for coming together to show their school spirit during this challenging time.”
The champs had a big showing during the tournament with famous basketball alums Vince Carter, Kenny Smith, Rick Fox, Harrison Barnes, Coby White and Sean May, among others dishing social media assists helping the Tar Heels survive and advance. BYU received support throughout the fan bracket from Cougar legend Jimmer Fredette creating a video and a crunch time Tweet urging fans to vote, head coach Mark Pope appearing on the “Titus & Tate” podcast and submitting a workout tape to get Cougar fans fired up and Utah Senator Mitt Romney lending his support several times for BYU, including a buzzer beater retweet to lift the Cougars over Michigan State in the Round of 32 and a final push call to action against North Carolina in the final.
2.3 million total votes were cast by fans over the course of the tournament with 51 schools using social media to promote their matchups. A variety of coaches promoted their teams Wofford’s Jay McAuley hosted a fake press conference with his daughter calling for Terrier Nation to vote while Memphis’ Anfernee Hardaway submitted a video and Kentucky’s John Calipari, Michigan’s Juwan Howard and Illinois’ Brad Underwood tweeted to their fans.
A diverse roster of famous alumni joined the conversation, including Indiana’s Isiah Thomas, Michigan’s Duncan Robinson, and the reigning Player of the Year, Dayton’s Obi Toppin creating videos to support their schools. Murray State’s Ja Morant, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and more than 50 other current and former players tweeted in support of their teams.
“Watching this bracket play out taught me a ton about fan bases from all over the country,” said “Titus & Tate” co-host Mark Titus. “And the biggest lesson of all is that North Carolina fans’ desire to put a billboard in Duke’s backyard just might be the strongest force in college basketball.”
“It’s truly a great day to be a Tar Heel,” added “Titus & Tate” co-host and North Carolina alum Tate Frazier. “I can’t wait to be a part of the billboard selection process and find the exact venue to properly bother hard-to-find Duke fans in Durham.”
The 68-team bracket was comprised of one automatic bid from each Division I conference, plus 32 at-large selections and a last four chosen based on NET rankings. The automatic bids were the most-followed men’s basketball programs from each conference, while the at-large squads were the next 32 programs with the highest men’s basketball Twitter followings. Teams went head-to-head, round-by-round on Twitter at @CBBONFOX.
Last year, FOX Sports launched its first Ultimate Fan Bracket, pitting the NFL’s fan bases against one another. The campaign attracted millions of votes and concluded with a long-awaited title for fans of the Cleveland Browns.