March Madness is one of the most anticipated sporting events each year. Millions of Americans tune in to see young, promising players get their chance on the big stage to compete and bring the championship title back to their school. For many, the most enticing and binge-worthy attributes of March Madness include the raw passion that exudes from each of the players on the court and the centuries of school rivalries that we get to see play out each year. Madness is exciting, unexpected, and filled with all the classic joys and perils that make college basketball so enjoyable to watch.
The 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship between Kansas and North Carolina averaged 18.1 million viewers, and ranks as the third most-watched college basketball game in the history of cable television. The semi-final matchup between UNC and Duke highlighted one of the fiercest rivalries in college sports, and averaged an even higher 18.5 million viewers. As a result, advertising revenue reached a record of $1 billion, with CBS and Turner securing 35 new advertisers for the 2022 tournament.
Women also have March Madness?
This year, marketing efforts for March Madness are expected to cast an even wider net for brands. With the opportunity to take advantage of collegiate athlete influencer marketing initiatives amidst the new NIL regulations, there are also advertising opportunities for the women’s NCAA tournament that’s now included under the March Madness umbrella.
Hosted by ESPN in 2022, the majority of the allotted advertising spaces were bought up by corporate sponsors for the women’s NCCA tournament, and once word got out, the remaining spots were sold out quickly. Included in the list of 2022 advertisers were major brands such as Adidas, Jersey Mike’s, Target, Wendy’s, and the tournaments co-sponsor, Nissan. Nissan is committed to continuing its support of the women’s half of March Madness and partnering with CBS Sports to encourage viewers to fill out the bracket challenge for both the men’s and women’s tournaments. Those who fill out both have the opportunity to win tickets to next year’s Final Four as well as a Nissan car.
The women’s game is certainly on the rise with 4.85 million viewers tuning in during the 2022 women’s NCAA women’s basketball championship, making it the most-watched since 2004. This is another area that advertisers and marketers can tap into and leverage amidst March Madness.
NIL continues to soar.
As NIL deals continue to dominate the college athletics market, March Madness is a big opportunity for brands to partner with various collegiate basketball players during the hype of the tournament. NIL deals are expected to generate $30 million in total deal revenue during 2023 alone, showcasing the impact of this newly established form of marketing. Previously, NCAA athletes were prohibited from entering into any brand deals, sponsorships, or earning compensation from companies.
Athletes are better able to connect with young consumers via platforms like TikTok and Instagram, as opposed to broad reach commercials that may air during March Madness. Collegiate athlete influencer’s TikTok engagement rate is six times higher than traditional influencers, and their Instagram engagement rate is twice as high as other influencers. As basketball athletes compete in the NCAA tournament, their visibility will only increase, and thus further boost engagement rates.
We are here.
With the continued increase in viewership and wide reach, March Madness is a prime opportunity to increase viewership for your brand. Our team is trained in traditional television advertising, on-site advertising, and influencer marketing – all of which can be leveraged with March Madness right around the corner.