Business Magazine

Marketing During the Madness

Posted on the 07 March 2013 by Brittparsons @brittnparsons

March is here already. It is a time that we Americans celebrate the start of spring, St. Patrick’s Day, and perhaps most notably, college basketball playoffs. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships, better known as March Madness, has quickly grown into one of the most popular sports events in the United States. The games give marketers a huge opportunity to advertise, especially after a $10.8 billion contract between CBS and Turner Broadcasting that allows every game to be shown on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. An article by Kantar Mediabreaks down all of the numbers over the last decade.
According to the article, over $5.2 billion had been spent on advertising for the games between 2002 and 2011. Over $730 million was spent in 2011 alone, making March Madness the second most popular post-season sports event in advertising. This puts NCAA basketball behind only NFL post-season sports, which includes the Super Bowl. Not surprisingly, most of the advertisements were geared more toward a male audience. The top ad categories were automotive, insurance, and restaurants. The top 10 companies included General Motors, AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Anheuser-Busch. After all, what goes better with sports than beer?
The top 10 companies made up approximately 37% of all advertising dollars spent during the 2011 playoffs. Much of the remaining money was spent by several competing insurance companies and restaurants, which made up almost 19% of the total advertising revenue. The NCAA college playoffs are the perfect time for marketers to reach a mass audience, particularly if that target market includes men.
The internet has also allowed a wider range of viewers. CBS and Turner Broadcasting both offer online streaming to existing customers for free. Non-existing customers can pay $3.99 for the service. Online viewership has steadily increased, which is to be expected with the growing digital trends. The online streaming is just another outlet for companies to market themselves during March Madness. For a brand that revolves heavily around males, sports, or the internet, buying an ad during the NCAA basketball playoffs would be almost as good as going to the Super Bowl.

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