One of the highest-stakes sports events is set to tip off later this month, with Kantar Media revealing that the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship — aka “March Madness” — is the second-most-lucrative postseason franchises, trailing only the NFL playoffs.
The NCAA Tournament produced a record $1.19 billion in TV advertising last year, and is expected to exceed that amount this year, Kantar reports. CBS and Turner Broadcasting will again show every game live, with the telecasts spread across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. The championship game, which will be carried by TBS, will be on a cable network for the first time.
“The annual collegiate basketball tournament, commonly known as ‘March Madness,’ has evolved into ‘Marketing Madness,'” Kantar says in its announcement. “The NCAA has successfully monetized the sporting event through media rights fees and corporate sponsorship payments while creating a platform for marketers to reap benefits from advertising and promotional programs anchored around the games.”
Ad spending surrounding the event — including pre-game, game and post-game programming, as well as studio shows, has been growing by 2% to 5% for the past few years, Kantar notes, with last year seeing a 4.8% spurt. About 90 marketers buy air time each year.
Kantar’s figures for postseason sports spending in 2015 show NFL football in the No. 1 spot with $1.25 billion, followed by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with $1.19 billion, NBA basketball with $944 million, Major League Baseball with $415 million and NCAA football bowl games with $314 million.
Average ad prices for the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Game have been steadily rising for several years, to $1.564 million for a 30-second spot last year, up from $1.493 million in 2014 and $1.422 million in 2013.