USA TODAY Sports Media Group today launched its first interactive bracket game (hosted on Facebook) to allow men's college basketball fans around the country to compete in groups with friends, fellow alumni, co-workers, and others in their area while continuously trying to predict the matchup winners during each round of the NCAA Final Four Tournament.
The game, "Matchup Mania," is now open for registration at Matchupmania.usatoday.com. Hosted on the Facebook platform, was developed in conjunction with Sports Technologies of Collinsville, Conn.
"'Matchup Mania' was created to engage college basketball fans in a meaningful way across all platforms," said Mark Kortekaas, senior vice president of digital for the USA TODAY Sports Media Group. "The tournament is one of the unique moments in sports that attracts visceral participation from both the casual and the hardcore fan, and with so many of them congregating on Facebook, we think 'Matchup Mania' is designed to serve their needs exceptionally well."
Once registered for "Matchup Mania," users can participate within as many groups as they would like. Players will initially be assigned within three different groups—Friends, Favorite Team, and one of the four tournament Regions (which is randomly assigned)—and can also sign up to participate in any Featured Groups they would like to join in order to compete against other players.
Beginning with second round of tournament play on March 15, when 64 teams remain, players are allocated a pool of 100 virtual points per day. They are then asked to assign a selected amount of their total virtual points on each of their predicted winners in every tournament matchup for that day; as the tournament progresses, players carry winning points on to the subsequent round, but any points assigned to a losing team are lost. Seed multipliers are also used to reward upset picks.
The player achieving the highest point totals from among all overall "Matchup Mania" participants will be the Grand Prize winner and receive $3,500. There will be three Runner-Up winners (one per Region* with the highest point totals for the Region) who will each receive $500. There will be only one prize per winner.