March Madness Online

    March 12, 2007

With March Madness having arrived marketers will be vying for the attention of sports fans across multiple channels. Ad spending on the games is estimated to be over a half a billion dollars this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

All of the March Madness games combined brings in more ad money than the Super Bowl. More than $2.73 billion has been spent on network TV advertising during the tournament this decade. This year’s March Madness ad spending will be 70 percent more than it was in 2000.

The top 10 advertisers in the tournament have spent close to $1.1 billion over the past seven years according to Jon Swallen of TNS Media Intelligence. That accounts for around 40 percent of total network TV ad revenues from the event.

The games are expanding into other channels with both the broadcasts themselves and the marketing aimed at reaching basketball fans. For the second year, CBS will be bringing March Madness online. All games from the first three rounds of the tournament are being streamed live over the Internet. The Webcasts will feature billboard displays around the edge of the viewing window and video ads during TV commercial breaks.

This is a smart move for CBS. A study by the Associated Press and Ipos Insights, finds that online video does not compete with TV viewing time. Just 10 percent of online video watchers said they watch less TV because of watching online video.

Attracting sports fans on the Internet is not difficult. When ESPN asked viewers “Which Sportscenter do you watch?” one of the most popular responses was “All of them.” These fans have made ESPN the most popular sports destination for US Internet users, according to Neilsen//NetRatings and the Center for Media Research.

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