The NCAA Tournament ranks itself amongst the largest sports showcases in the world such as the Super Bowl, World Cup, and Summer Olympics. Moreover, the NCAA Tournament is ranked behind the NFL playoffs as the second most popular sports showcase for advertisers and is placed ahead in generating more advertising revenue than the NBA and MLB post seasons. According to Kantar Media, the NCAA Tournament has generated approximately $7.5 billion in TV advertising since 2005, in which last year’s NCAA Tournament generated $1.3 billion alone. According to sources cited by Forbes.com, “Advertisers for the 67-game ’15 NCAA Tournament has accumulated more than 95% of all available airtime for the TV broadcasts and the March Madness Live digital stream.” The same sources from Forbes.com also stated, “Last year on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV was the second most watched tourney in a decade, so ads are priced at a premium.” For instance, Kantar Media reported that the average 30-second advertising spot during the 2014 March Madness Tournament was just shy of $1.5 million. This was a 5% increase from 2013.
Throughout the years, the NCAA, Turner Sports, and CBS Sports have been able to effectively commercialize March Madness into a magnet for corporate sponsors to reap the benefits from advertising and promotional campaigns anchored around the games. Developing brand name identities for the entire tournament and interim playoffs such as March Madness, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship enables advertisers the chance to associate their brand names with highly engaged and large demographical audiences. Corporate sponsors such as AT&T, Coca-Cola, Capital One, UPS, Allstate, etc. are willing to pay big bucks in making sure their products/services are nationally and internationally seen by the millions of viewers watching the NCAA Tournament, which makes the sponsors, networks, and the NCAA very pleased.
Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management Major
Student Advisory Board Member