The NCAA March Madness basketball tournament begins today. But that’s not the only tournament going on, oh no! If you aren’t into basketball, we’ve got plenty of other ways to play the brackets. Many websites stage their own tournaments at the same time, to determine the best …whatever it is you’re interested in. Look these over and find something you care about -and then go participate!
1. Science Fiction vs. Fantasy
io9 presents a March Madness tournament every year, but the subject is always different. This year, different fictional genres are pitted against each other, and the outcome depends on your votes. Enlarge the bracket here. The first round started yesterday, in which new zombies defeated old zombies as The Walking Dead outperformed Night of the Living Dead, and several other first-round matchups. More polls in the first round will be posted tomorrow,and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the final round. Competitors include such disparate stories as Star Trek, Alice in Wonderland, Godzilla, and Akira.
2. Musical March Madness
MTV News’ Musical March Madness has a circular interactive bracket. Sixty-four bands are in contention for the crown, and first-round voting is open until March 24th. The ultimate winner will be crowned on April 9th. Meanwhile, there is a discussion forum about the voting. I can’t make any sense of it; maybe you can.
3. Bunny Slippers Tournament
Bunny Slippers. which sells house shoes, has a tournament bracket to see which of 16 popular stuffed fuzzy slippers are best. Are the yellow duck slippers better than the mallard slippers? Are S’mores better than zombies? Will Yoda slippers defeat the LEGO block slippers? And will the classic bunnies prevail in the end? Fill out your bracket predictions by March 23rd to win prizes (slippers, of course). The winners will be determined by how accurate (and early) your picks are. Accurate compared to what, I don’t know.
4. Condiment Madness
What’s the best thing to put on a hot dog? We’ll find out what everyone else thinks as the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council presents Condiment Madness! The bracket is here. They’re giving away prizes for participation, too. The first poll, taken through a Facebook app, is closed. They said there would be a new poll each day, though there doesn’t seem to be one available yet today, but there may be soon.
5. CustomInk's Iconic T-shirt Tourney
CustomInk put the 32 most iconic t-shirt designs into a tournament for you to vote on. The four “regions” are brand names, bands, movies, and everything else. Click on the first round matchups in the bracket to start voting.
6. The ACA Bracket
Whitehouse.gov has launched an online tournament to determine the best reason to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The reasons are accompanied by humorous gifs in each of the first-round matchups. The drawback is that you must vote with your Facebook or Twitter account. The sixteen reasons in contention do not appear on a visible bracket.
7. The Star Wars Character Tournament
This is Madness is an online tournament featuring 32 Star Wars characters. They will compete for your votes from now until April 7th, when the final battle comes down to the champion of the Light vs. the champion of the Dark Side. First round voting is going on now.
8. Mix March Madness 2014 Webcomics Tournament
Comic Mix presents the 2014 Mix March Madness 2014 Webcomics Tournament, despite the banner image at the site clearly saying 2013. The 128 competitors are divided into the regions of Cardy, Infantino, Morales, and Plastino. You’ll find the brackets at the first round voting post. but if you don’t know xkcd from SATW, Axe Cop from Penny Arcade, or the difference between Zebra Girl and The Oatmeal, you should take advantage of the links in the brackets to check out webcomics you might fall in love with.
9. Geek Madness: Star Wars vs. Star Trek
The Geek Twins are holding first round voting now in the Geek Madness tournament. The 32 characters in competition are divided into four regions of Star Wars heroes, Star Wars villains, Star Trek heroes and Star Trek villains. Enlarge the bracket here. Keep up with further voting at The Geek Twins.
10. Teen TV Madness
Forever Young Adult had a tournament about teen movies last year, and this year they're looking for your vote to select the best teen TV series. Teen TV Madness has 64 shows competing. The competition is already up to the division semi-finals. Keep up with the results here.
11. The Worst Company in America
…there are several returning competitors, including previous champs EA and Comcast, three-time runner-up (and sort of winner from when it acquired Countrywide) Bank of America, the perennially hated Ticketmaster and PayPal (with their respective corporate counterparts LiveNation and eBay).
There are also some new names on the list, like Koch Industries and lawsuit-happy seed company Monsanto. There’s also SeaWorld making a splash on WCIA 2014, presumably because people have been watching that Blackfish documentary.
First round voting begins March 19. Follow the tournament’s progress at Consumerist.
See also: The followup to this post, 9 More Alternate March Madness Tournaments.
And there are some tournaments we’ve covered in the past that are staging return engagements you may be interested in: